Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Collaborative Artists Ensemble recently opened the play, Afterlife: A Ghost Story, at the Avery Schreiber Playhouse in North Hollywood, CA. For readers who may be unfamiliar with the production, how would you describe its premise?
Steven Jarrard: It’s about a couple who return to their beachfront home for the first time since their son drowned in the ocean, just steps away from their house. It’s about how these two people deal with this loss differently and how this difference makes it difficult for them to deal with each other. And it’s about what happens after death, about letting go or not letting go.
BD: As the director, what inspired you to become involved with the show, and how would you describe your process in articulating the development of the characters?
SJ: What resonated with me was the juxtaposition of the grounded, realistic first act with the fantastical nature of the second. I am a big fan of The Twilight Zone, and this play has a Twilight Zone feel. On the wall of my office, I have a quote by Ron Howard that reads, “The director is the keeper of the story.” So, I let the script do the articulating.
BD: Why do you feel that this play will resonate with audiences, and what do you hope that they will take away from the performance?
SJ: Everyone has experienced loss, or will. It is something we cannot avoid. Even in our early readings, people were touched and moved. It evoked memories of loved ones who are now gone. It was cathartic and reflective. I want the audience to leave the theatre feeling as if they have awakened from a dream and that it will provoke an exchange of feelings and thoughts and remembrances.
BD: You have quite a talented cast and crew involved with the production. What can you tell us about their creative process in bringing Afterlife to life?
SJ: We, as a company, do not have a style, like, say, The Actors Gang. So, we give the actors space to bring their own possibilities. We are lucky that our two actors playing the husband and wife, Meg Wallace and Joshua James Knightley, work in a similar way, so they quickly felt like a married couple.
BD: Afterlife will be running through November 12th. What is the best way for our readers to garner tickets for the show?
SJ: We have a reservation line (323-860-6569) for those who want to pay cash (and it’s cash only at the door), or you can go to www.afterlife.brownpapertickets.com to pay by credit card.
BD: Are there any other upcoming shows or projects that you would care to share with our readers?
SJ: Yes! We have the world premiere of Waste Land by Don Nigro coming up in the spring. It’s a play about T.S. Eliot and so much more. It opens on April 6 at the Studio/Stage Theatre in Hollywood.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about Afterlife: A Ghost Story?
SJ: I think the best way to learn about a play is see it. In high school, reading Shakespeare was boring, but when I saw Shakespeare on stage for the first time…wow!