Follow Us
Anna and Arthur the bot in <em>After the Blast</em> | © Jeremy Daniel
Anna and Arthur the bot in <em>After the Blast</em> | © Jeremy Daniel

Theater: Women's Struggles Continue Post-Apocalypse in Zoe Kazan's New Play

Picture of Carey Purcell
Updated: 30 October 2017
According to Kazan’s compelling After the Blast, progress for women is moving slower than we think.

In this post-apocalyptic play, directed with clarity and compassion by Lila Neugebauer for Lincoln Center’s Claire Tow Theater, years have passed since an environmental disaster forced people to flee underground and establish a new civilization. However, women are still blaming themselves for circumstances beyond their control.

Anna (Cristin Milioti) and Oliver (William Jackson Harper) are married third-generation, post-disaster citizens who met at a “compatibility fair.” They long to be parents, but reproduction is strictly regulated by the government. Adults are forced to pass a series of tests in order to “get their fertility,” and Anna has repeatedly failed these tests owing to severe depression.

To sim or not to sim

It’s clear that Anna’s depression stems from being forced to live underground. She is trapped in a series of mundane routines from which she can only escape if she chooses to vape or “sim”—partake in virtual reality that can transport people to the beach or transform their bland, pre-packaged food into a deliciously seasoned meal.

William Jackson Harper and Cristin Milioti in After the Blast