McKeever's 'After' Takes Zoetic Stage
Start writing a post
Entertainment

McKeever's 'After' Takes Zoetic Stage

For anyone who's ever wondered what happens after.

43
McKeever's 'After' Takes Zoetic Stage
Miami Herald

This past weekend, I had the privilege to experience a theatrical production unlike most others. 'After,' written by internationally produced and award winning playwright Michael McKeever and directed by Stuart Meltzer, portrays a story about modern day bullies from a completely new angle. Set on the Zoetic Stage at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, the play tastefully melds modern societal expectations of families and their emotions following major tragedies like school shootings. Perhaps what delineates this production the most in my eyes was how well timed it was given the current issues. By definition, zoetic refers to anything pertaining to real life. Founded in 2010 by McKeever and friends with the goal of nurturing and showcasing contemporary theatrical works, this unique setting literally brings the audience into the lives of the characters. Lacking the traditional elevated stage and framing curtains, the zoetic stage allows the audience and actors to remain on the same plane, free to feel as natural parts of the production instead of as onlookers.

Aside from the authentic aesthetic and original content, McKeever spoke volumes through his well-developed plot, which was masterfully conveyed by a stunning cast. Adding to the overall impact and natural build of the storyline, the play runs a continuous 90 minutes without intermission. Set in the lavish suburban home of a relatively wealthy and seemingly flawless family, it follows two families as they attempt to intervene in the conflict between their two high-school sons. Surprisingly enough, the cast is only made of 5 people, none of which are the bullied or the bully. In fact, McKeever structures the production in a way that tells the story most don't hear: the aftermath of a family's loss.

Segmented into three parts, the play revolves around the small nuances of both families and alludes how each family may have influenced the roles each boy took on in the incident. With detailed depictions of the 'perfect' family featuring the well-to-do matriarch Julia Campbell, played by Mia Matthews, and Jeni Hacker's starkly contrasted overprotective character Connie Beckman, McKeever toes the line between perception and reality as each family tries to blame the other for a lack of insight into the minds of their teenage boys. Yet the plot is not simply based on the facts, for it also juggles the elusive concepts of perfection, embodied by Julia. This idea of the idyllic lifestyle and family is exactly what she grapples with throughout the play, and it proves to be especially essential when she is forced to face the fact that her son is someone she couldn't imagine him to be. Heavy and chilling, McKeever pits family against family in what seems to be a war on ignorant parents and violent teens but ultimately blooms into a deep empathetic take on the aftermath of a devastating tragedy. Julia's quiet evolution from perfectionist mother with a need to appear righteous in everyone's eyes to paranoid and heartbroken mother in denial clearly portrays just how much of a toll shootings can have on the family of the shooter, not just the victim. Coupled with the smart separation of movements, imaginative set design and telling costume choices, 'After' is meticulously crafted and touches both the heart and the eye. No action, prop or tone of voice is overlooked.

I don't typically indulge in dramas, but I admit that I couldn't hold back tears, especially during one of the many astonishingly impactful long stretches of silence when all that is at work is the actors' emotions. After witnessing such raw emotions first hand, I can genuinely say that I will no longer be so quick to judge new works. Given the level of seriousness and considering the protests that were being held right outside of the theater, no other play has ever been such a stark representation of reality. As heavy as the emotions are throughout, the beginning is as inventive and intriguing as any quality comedy, setting up a great contrast. Perhaps what struck me the most is just how inventive McKeever is with the clever backstories and how well he crafts a 90 minute production out of essentially five characters and one set design. Every scene and gesture and word is artfully timed and carries well throughout as the piece progresses, almost unnoticed. These 90 minutes are probably simultaneously the shortest and the longest 90 minutes of theatrical mastery I've ever sat through.

While the production has run its course at Arsht, I encourage anyone interested in deeply moving and inventive theater to follow @ZoeticStageMIA on Twitter as McKeever himself does not currently have a Twitter handle.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Nothing! There is no reason to feel guilty about food and nourishing your body. It's time to make peace with food and stop focusing on the "good" or "bad," "right" or "wrong" because food does not have power over you.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Sat Down With An Endocrinologist To Ask All My Questions About Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

There are so many moving parts of hormonal health, so I went to an expert.

1461
Anjanette Tan

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is an autoimmune disease that impacts approximately 1 in 10 women. Any woman who has PCOS can attest to the fact that no two cases are the same — there are so many aspects of hormonal health that can impact a woman's reproductive health! For many, PCOS is a trial and error condition, with many doctors' appointments depending on the stage of life the woman is in.

This week I sat down with Dr. Anjanette Tan to get the expert opinion on all my PCOS questions. Dr. Tan is a board-certified endocrinology who's worked in private practices since 2004. She currently works at the Diabetes and Thyroid Center of Fort Worth, one of the largest all-endocrine practices in the area, where she is the managing partner and head of clinical research.

Keep Reading... Show less

- Since I can remember, I've always been a light sleeper, with the quietest sounds waking me up, and I regularly wake up with the sun.

- While talking to a gynecologist friend of mine, she mentioned the importance of using an eye mask for quality sleep, which regulates hormonal levels.

- I was serendipitously sent the Crane & Canopy Silk Sleep Mask almost right after that conversation and was honestly reluctant to try it after testing other sleep masks that felt uncomfortable and irritated my skin.

- This sleep mask was extremely comfortable, and for the first time in nearly a decade, I slept in far past when I usually do on the weekends and woke up feeling more refreshed than I can remember — I've worn it nearly every night since then.

The older I get, it seems that sleep becomes an increasingly important topic of conversation amongst my friends and me. Yes, of course we complain about how tired we always are, but the pattern seemed to be a lack of sleep on the weekdays followed by late nights and sleeping in on the weekends without any solution.

Keep Reading... Show less

As college students, sometimes life can be overwhelming. Four tests in a week and you only passed one of them? I feel that. Days like that, you just need time for yourself. A time where you're nice to yourself and put your own self-care before anything else.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

The Smile Project Just Launched An Ambassador Program, And I Can't Wait To Get Started

Looking to shift your perspective, be happier, or just get involved in something truly amazing? Look no further.

279

The Smile Project is a nonprofit organization devoted to spreading happiness, founded by Elizabeth Buechele. It all started on a random day in the fall of her senior year. She was driving home from school when this thought crossed her mind: "Day 1: Happiness is…those perfect car rides where the radio just plays all the right songs."

Keep Reading... Show less

I'll never forget the day that someone told me these words: "Madison, I think you're a good friend to everyone but yourself." I stood there completely in awe of that statement. Before that day, I never really thought about being a friend to myself, and at the time, I didn't really know what it meant. Now, I realize that you can't fully be there for other people unless you're there for yourself, too. You can't show up for others until you're willing to show up for yourself.

Here are five things everyone should learn in order to be a better friend to themselves. These steps are hard, but they're so worth it.

Keep Reading... Show less

It's no secret that social media can be harmful to our mental health. The barrage of heavily edited photos of Instagram models that we see every day only fuels our insecurities. There is a good side to social media, though. It allows us to keep up with friends and family across the globe. Plus, it provides a platform for mental health experts. Listed below are five therapists on Instagram who will fill your feed with motivational quotes and positive infographics.

Keep Reading... Show less
Netflix

Last week, Netflix released its original film "The Devil All the Time," based on the 2011 novel of the same name. Directed by Antonio Campos, the film boasts an all-star cast including Bill Skarsgard, Robert Pattinson, Riley Keough, and Tom Holland.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

In Honor of PCOS Awareness Month, I Researched 25 Things About The Autoimmune Disease

Ongoing research is further promoting the fact that engaging in a proper diet and exercise regimen can alleviate many symptoms!

790

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine disorder that affects young women, especially those of reproductive age. Women with PCOS often exhibit symptoms ranging from increased levels of the male hormone androgen along with cysts in their ovaries. However, ongoing research is further promoting the fact that engaging in a proper diet and exercise regimen can alleviate many symptoms! Here are 25 things I found out about PCOS.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

To The Boy Who Said I Was 'Unlovable' Because Of My Back Rolls, My Body Is NOT A Problem

I realized I need to stop blaming myself for staying single. The problem wasn't me. It was you.

261
Photo by Artem Kovalev on Unsplash

I told you I was going to be okay if you said what was on your mind, but honestly, nothing could've prepared me for the words that came out of your mouth. After getting off of the phone with you, I burst into tears. Those words shattered my heart and continuously repeated in my head.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments