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In Performance

In Performance: Andrew Schneider, AFTER (Under the Radar)

In Performance: Andrew Schneider, AFTER (Under the Radar)

Andrew Schneider

Under the Radar, The Public Theater
January 4-14, 2018

Without warning, the audience is plunged into darkness. So beings AFTER, created by the OBIE-winning Andrew Schneider in collaboration with Alessandra Calabi, Bobby McElver, and Alicia ayo Ohs. For AFTER, the creative team set out to make the truest blackout it could, and it succeeds to an extent that feels impossible in typical American, glowing-exit-sign-riddled theaters. Darkness recurs throughout the show’s 80 minutes. Sitting for so long in a darkness so complete that even the people whose coats you feel touching you disappear, your mind starts to play tricks on you: Is that a glimmer of a light source? Was that the hint of a body moving? Is that a sound, or did I imagine it?

AFTER intentionally manipulates the senses in this way, suppressing visual stimuli to play with perception. During the darkness, things and people appear and disappear onstage so fast that when the lights do come up, it seems magical. The sound design, by McElver, adds another layer of magic, relying on repeated bits of the song “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” and an array of 3D sonic feats. Text by Schneider in the form of long monologues and mini-scenes often touch on themes of death and breath and–very apt for the current weather–hypothermia. Are these snippets, which range from a rave full of people to a single plastic bag blowing across the stage alone, the things that will flash before our eyes right before we die, and/or what might remain after? Very late in the show, Schneider says that there’s not going to be an explanation. And really, one isn’t necessary. The technical accomplishments and sensory wizardry of AFTER ensure a personal experience that allows for each audience member to make “sense” of it all on their own terms.

Photo: Maria Baranova-Suzuki

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Rachel Karp is a theater artist whose work challenges language, legislation, and the status quo. She has developed and directed original work through Mabou Mines, Ars Nova, Incubator Arts Project, Actors Theatre of Louisville, IRT Theater, Women Center Stage, Dixon Place, Theater for the New City, and SPACE on Ryder Farm. Rachel has also developed and directed new plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Flea Theater, Powerhouse Theater Festival, the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Festival, and Columbia University’s graduate and undergraduate schools. Rachel has associate and assistant directed productions by some of the top theater directors and ensembles working today including Les Waters, Lila Neugebauer, Young Jean Lee, Aaron Landsman, Mallory Catlett, Big Art Group, PearlDamour, The Mad Ones, and Woodshed Collective. Always wanting to be exposed to new work, Rachel has been a script reader for The Lark and the Bushwick Starr and has worked as a dramaturg at the Jewish Plays Project, a literary assistant at Second Stage, and a literary intern at Soho Rep. She is a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, a former Resident Artist at Mabou Mines, a former Resident Director at The Flea, and a former Directing Intern at Actors Theatre of Louisville. BA, Columbia University; MFA, Carnegie Mellon University (expected 2019).

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