Through a collection of varied scenes and musical scores, The Morning After pushes sexuality—often one of the most taboo and yet most critical of topics—out into the spotlight.
Senior Emma Shope compiled relevant pieces for the show to expose the intense joy and pain that result from human relationships—romantic and otherwise. Shope is also directing the show and acting alongside the cast during this minimalistic, yet immensely moving performance.
Shope says that each piece contributes to “a discussion about sexual brokenness and then what it looks like to see redeemed brokenness.” The first half of the The Morning After meditates on the effects of shattered relationships, selfish desires, and tragic mistakes. Yet the second half gradually unveils the goodness that can result from faithful and persistent love on both sides of a relationship.
Despite the wide range of sources used, Shope has carefully woven each scene and song together to create a cohesive story and compelling dialogue. While wounds revealed in the first act begin to mend in the second, Shope states that the show will not conclude with “just a clean slate happy ending. There’s a lot of work involved [in the healing process]. There’s a lot of process that goes on for a long time that’s not over overnight.”
Shope is motivated to use theater due to the medium’s capability to present even the most unthinkable scenarios in a tangible, meaningful manner. As contributing actor Matthew Mindeman says, “It’s hard for us to talk about this sort of thing if we are just having a conversation with each other, but putting it in the art form of theater helps us experience what this is like for some people and how these things work. Then, we can enter into a conversation from that jumping-off point.”
More than anything, Shope hopes the performance will lead to future conversations, encouragement, and empathy. “I just want them to think,” she says. “To walk away talking, whether it is about the performance itself, about theater as a means of discussion, or about sexual brokenness. I want them to enjoy it, but I want them to come with a mind and a heart to learn, to explore.”
The Morning After will open in Sanderson Auditorium on March 31 and April 1 at 8:00 p.m., and conclude on April 2 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are free, but seats can be reserved and queries answered at 706.419.1051 or firstname.lastname@example.org.