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Print Version

Written by Anita Ross
Directed by Shannon Friday

at BATS Theatre (Out Of Site), Cnr Cuba & Dixon, Wellington
From 4 Apr 2013 to 13 Apr 2013

Reviewed by Laurie Atkinson [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media], 8 Apr 2013
originally published in The Dominion Post

Life.After. is a short two-hander play about two sisters, Stella and Maya, who tackle some big imponderables about such things as life, death, grieving, love, the past, and the present. 

Stella, however, has a problem. Not only has she shuffled off this mortal coil but she also finds herself back from the undiscovered country and in the familiar surroundings of her old flat in Wellington. To her chagrin she finds that her older sister, Maya, has moved in.

They flit back and forth through time reliving their childhood (tantrums, sisterly jealousies), reminiscing about holidays, and arguing, making up, and arguing some more. Maya amusingly relates how Stella's funeral was not quite the ceremony Stella had hoped for. Stella was an actress and committed suicide at 24, though it is never made clear what drove her to it.

Eventually both of them, I think, decide it is time for Stella to return to the undiscovered country and the problem then arises: how? At this point some tension and bit more humour are at long last added to the play as they light candles, burn incense, ring a bell and do various things to help Stella on her way.

Anita Ross (Maya) and Liz Kirkman (Stella) create a believable sisterly relationship that veers sharply at times between love and temporary hatred. The performances are also convincingly physical particularly when they move back and forth through time. They both, however, spoke at a fair clip throughout which made a few sections hard to follow. Uther Dean's excellent lighting created a suitable atmosphere throughout as did Tane Upjohn-Beatson's smartly timed sound design.
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 John Smythe