Seattle actor Ryan Sanders wrote a hilarious sketch back in gee, I don’t know, 2010? It was set in a distant, bleak, ravaged future, where you scavenge your way through every day, trusting in strange gods and mythologies. Not a land that time forgot, but a land that forgot time.
JASS: Do you know the story of Henry Ford?
LOOP: Not really.
JASS: Well a long time ago this guy discovered that by attaching a key to a kite you could harness the power of storms and send the energy down the string to a device that records sound on to a wax platter.
LOOP: What does that get you?
JASS: Does it matter? It was a huge idea! How many people do you think told him he couldn’t pull it off?
It was a scene about dreaming big, even when life gives you almost nothing to work with. In 2014, Ryan and Mike Mathieu made it the opening moment of a one-act play.
After All debuted in 2015 at the “Locally Grown” festival organized by Radial Theatre, in Seattle, and went on to run for a few weekends at Bellingham’s iDiOM Theater. Sometimes with pathos, sometimes with lunacy, the play catalogues the life-and-death conflicts and intrigue running through a community of scavengers living together in a network of caves and hovels they call The Nook.
At the center of the story is a classic odd couple: Loop, an utter pessimist sick with love for a fellow Nooker, and Jass, an unscrupulous optimist and would-be guru desperate to make his mark in the world. Their supporting cast includes Myrta, the cagey object of Loop’s affection; Brute, the local bully; and Clipper, Jass’s apprentice and number-one fan. Ryan and Mike played all the characters, as well as directed and designed the show themselves.
“… oddly affecting … charmingly loopy …” —The Stranger