2014 Fringe Interview – Here After – Upstart Theatre
by Bailey Green
Meg Moran and I met up in the Fringe cafe where we bonded over our mutual love for the sci fi genre and chatted about her show Here After as part of the Toronto Fringe.
Here After is set 150 years in the future and humanity is in a dire state. We’ve become immortal. The immortality drug is discovered close to our present day in 2014 and, as you can imagine, it didn’t take long for things to rapidly fall apart. “The problem is that even if your body can live forever, your mind just can’t keep up,” says director and writer Meg Moran. Four people are trapped in an underground bunker, having retreated there shortly after civilization began to rip at the seams, where they are forced to keep their minds constantly stimulated. Otherwise, they’ll slip into a “coma-like state” and go blank.
“If everyone is immortal, overpopulation immediately becomes an issue, resource depletion accelerates, pollution increases and then you can’t breathe,” Moran sketches the timeline for the setting of the play. The four people have been trapped in the bunker together for over a hundred years, creating a pseudo-family. Very recently to the beginning of the play one of the character’s lovers goes brain dead. Here After examines issues relevant to society today through a unique lens, “this is a story of what could be the fallout of something that happens two weeks from now. The characters are people of this time dealing with the long term consequences of problems we are currently facing as a society,” Moran says. “We look at responsibility, loss, hope and the struggle to survive. Why do we keep going under extremely difficult circumstances?”
“What we’re looking at in some ways is the shift from the Jetsons future, to the more Hunger Games future,” Moran explains, “As we become more technologically advanced, we’re starting to realize that being constantly connected can have a sinister element to it.” The idea for the play first came to Moran on a plane where she imagined four characters playing games. The play itself is written by Moran and the process has been very collaborative. “I had a clear vision of the events and the world, but we did workshop it. If they need to play games to survive, we had to figure out what that looks like. It has been a growing changing thing for a long time,” says Moran of the process. She speaks very highly of her actors, of their inspiration, sense of play and willingness to give feedback.
Moran says her greatest challenge has been “finding the point where the script is done and the directing starts.” She feels this process has taught her how to better identify that point, and how to hand it off to someone else, in this case the actors. “You have to allow room for the happy accidents,” Moran smiles.
Upstart is a relatively new company founded by Meara Tubman-Broeren and Meg Moran, who met during their undergrad at York University. The company began with their site specific adaptation of Chekhov’s Three Sisters. They’re still exploring what having a company means and what theatre they want to bring to the stage. For Moran, she’s passionate about experimenting with form, movement oriented pieces and re-telling of classic stories. “I will see anything,” she says, “You have to see things you don’t know about or understand. Otherwise you won’t grow as an artist.”
by Meg Moran, presented by Upstart Theatre as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival
Where: Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace, 16 Ryerson Ave.
Directed by Meg Moran
Featuring Owen Fawcett, Elizabeth Tanner, Chiamaka Ugwu, and Enzo Voci
Produced by Meara Tubman-Broeren
Thursday July 3rd, 2014 at 7:45 p.m.
Saturday July 5th, 2014 at 3:15 p.m.
Sunday July 6th, 2014 at 4:30 p.m.
Monday July 7th, 2014 at 2:15 p.m.
Wednesday July 9th, 2014 at 10:00 p.m.
Thursday July 10th, 2014 at 4:30 p.m.
Friday July 11th, 2014 at 8:45 p.m.
Sunday July 13th, 2014 at 2:15 p.m.
Tickets: $10 at the door/$12 in advance. Tickets can be purchased online at www.fringetoronto.com, by phone at 416-966-1062, or at the door.
For more information, go to http://hereafterfringe.wordpress.com/