After Easter

by Anne Devlin

Cast & Crew

Karoline Rose O'Sullivan
Ros Richards; Celia Kelly
Eilannin Dhu; Bill Jordan
Mitchell Cox; Laura Galbraith
Ciaran Daly and Imogen French.

Taylor Allen - Lighting Design
Lindsay Walton - Production Manager
Set and costume design - Hecate
Roz Riley - Director.

Greta is protesting.
Her English husband is philandering and her family thinks she's crazy. Perhaps they're right - after all she's an atheist who's having visions.
But while she is sleeping with the enemy, her family isn?t so much better off. One sister is married to the only choice, the other refuses to marry at all, their brother is married to his art, and their cousin is married to God. This exciting modern play unravels a family history with humour and poetic drama
After Easter   preview photographed by John Reeves
After Easter by Anne Devlin
Sun 13th April matinee. Star of the Sea Theatre.
Review by Wendy Lewis (Theatre Blog)
Greta is seeing things. Visions.
Act I focuses on Greta as she speaks of her visions and tries to find some meaning.
Act II is more fractured with disintegrating relationships, family secrets revealed, regrets and hostility, but ultimately new resolve. Along the way, we wonder about identity and how it is shaped. The tensile nature of family ties. About ?running away?. And finally about ?coming home? whether to a country, a house or a person.
Greta (Karoline O;Sullivan) - who is variously dazed, cheeky, mad, innocent and radiant - is surrounded by 3 siblings: the brash, cheery Aoife (Celia Kelly), who married the ?boy next door? but dreams of the unattainable Roger Armstrong; Helen (eilannin Dhu), who has done her best to ?lose? her Irish heritage and re-invent herself as a sophisticated solo woman (but how did she get her hands on all that money?!); and young brother Manus (ciaran Daly), who plays traditional Irish songs on his fiddle to prove a philosophical/political point that his father drummed into him.
Husbands are discussed but never seen. We don?t meet the father (Bill Jordan) until late in the play ? a scene well worth the wait! The cast is strong and does a great job with a quite heavy play.
The costumes are wonderful too: each woman?s clothes a strong statement of her failed dreams and current life ? watch out for that fab blue dress!
The solid two act structure of the play is lightened by creative direction. The playful cat and mouse games of the singing everyman/everywoman during the interplay of shifting scenes, entrances and exits via different doors and eerie sound effects all create a lively dynamic that echoes the wild imaginings of Greta?s mind. And the direction and movement give the audience space to breathe and think about what is on stage.
Images of Christ, Mary Magdalene, Pentecostal flames, betrayal, death, sin, sacrifice, resurrection and more?they?re all there if you want to find them!
But are Greta?s visions real? Is she playing tricks on her family out of spite? Or is she going mad? Be warned, once the questions start there?s no stopping! Is the visit to the nunnery in Greta?s imagination? Is she the nun; and the nun her? What?s the significance of the book their mother read all those years ago? What is there for their mother to cling to? The fact that their father died on Good Friday means what exactly? Are the mother and father a loving or malevolent presence? As we discover, the real feelings the siblings have towards them are complex and sad.
After Easter is a very Irish play. There?s the obvious references to conflict at all levels, Catholicism, hatred of English, road blocks, going or not to Mass. All of these clearly impact on two very powerful concepts at the heart of the play: identity and the level of acceptance one feels within a family. Certainly the choices we make - or feel we have no choice but to make - and the long term consequences of those choices are central to the play.
In life we will meet people who have what we want; or who are what we could have become. The play raises the question of how we deal with this. With bitterness? With acceptance? Or by running away?
Of course, the Irish have a reputation for being story tellers. Fantastical and magical stories. Stories that can take you for a ride. Greta knows well that she has the power to entertain, shock and infuriate with her story.
As with all good stories, it is splintered, suggestive, funny, thought-provoking, disturbing and possibly not entirely true. And that?s what makes it such an absorbing one.

After Easter Sat 12th April Opening Night
- Review by Kingsley (sydneyartsguide.com.au)

Irish playwright Anne Devlin?s exquisitely written, award winning 1994 play AFTER EASTER, directed by Roz Riley, is the Factory Space?s first production for the year.
AFTER EASTER begins just before Easter 1996 when Greta goes on a journey to discover her own identity, searching backwards and forwards in time, from thirty years ago up until the present day.
Devlin?s play is a contemporary portrait of Greta and her family. She finally finds her authentic self, a quest that is not achieved until the final scene which is set after Easter 1996. The audience witnesses revealing moments from each of the members of this unraveling family, allowing the audience to experience what these contrasting characters feel and think, such as Greta?s Marxist father, and what each family member regards as ?right? and ?wrong? in regards to the betrayal, love and death, the catholic religion, and the problems of Northern Ireland. Armed soldiers add danger and tension. We learn the essential place of these women, in the rebuilding of a broken society.
Roz Riley?s production stars Mitchell Cox, Ciaran Daly, Eilannin Dhu, Imogen French, Laura Gailbraith, William Jordan, Celia Kelly, Karoline Rose O?Sullivan and Ros Richards.
Highly recommended.

After Easter Sun 13th April matinee. -
Review by Veronica Kaye (theatred.wordpress.com)

After Easter is a brilliant play. It?s provocative and so very, very rich. It?s fundamentally the story of Greta, a young woman beset by visions. Nominally of Catholic background, she's not religious. She has no idea what to make of her experiences, nor do her family. Our scientific rationalist society can only interpret such experiences as symptoms of mental illness. And, on many occasions, they probably are. But they can also be indicative of a powerful imagination and a deep compassion. Ask plenty of dramatists. They have visitations from their characters. Ibsen famously had conversations with Nora from A Doll?s House. (And it?s not beyond my own ?spiritual? experience.)
Director Roz Riley has created an engaging production. She gets good work from her cast. Karoline Rose O?Sullivan is wonderful as Greta, playing her with a poignant bewilderment, filled with wit and warmth. She gets terrific support from Celia Kelly and Eilannin Dhu as her sisters, both delivering moving portraits of beautifully complex women. Some people might see this play as a family drama, but it was not on this level that I found it so affecting; not unless by ?family? we mean the human family. Set predominately in a Northern Ireland trying to find its way, this remarkable play reminds us of ways of seeing we often neglect. Not traditional religion, but ways of imagination and compassion. Inspired by such radical visions of the world is how we can find the hope to better it. After Easter Sat 12th April opening night ? review my Ben Oxley (whatsonsydney.blogspot.com.au) The general vision is often both comic and dark. The vision is also a feminist view of women asserting themselves over men. Note to self: why are there so many Irish men at the pub? Throughout, the visions come to Greta, sometimes disturbing the action, sometimes not. The Flynn family tears itself apart by the time the children grow up. The parents lived a lie, staying together out of commitment rather than passion. Consequently, the sisters have a negative vision of their family? s way of life. The mother, Rose, beat some of the children. Rose?s life is a struggle but motherhood empowers her and because she is conventional and hard-working she feels her life is successful. Greta's mental stress, a suicide bid and breakdown are due to her childhood and marriage disenchantment. The performances are strong, focussed and riding the emotional wave of the drama. Karoline Rose O'Sullivan maintains an innocent charm as Greta, creating sibling tension with Aoife, played by Celia Kelly and the bossy Helen (Eilannin Dhu). Sister Bethany struggles to deal with Greta's visionary gift, proving an unhelpful guide to spiritual understanding. Manus (Ciaran Daly), the young fiddler and Ros Flynn (Ros Richards) give us the remaining family, at pains to reconcile to the impending loss of Michael, their father. The play is optimistic in the sense that it is a search for identity by the main character Greta and her sisters. Eventually Greta?s search for security, love and the understanding of her own identity overcome the pain. The final scene shows Greta returned to serenity and blissful motherhood as she tells her baby a fairytale. This affirms the good in her life; the mystery is restored. After Easter Sat 12th April opening night ? Review by Gary Yeats (weekendnotes.com)

Just in time for Easter, "After Easter" is the latest production hitting the boards at Manly's Factory Space Theatre. The work of Irish playwright Ann Devlin, After Easter is pigeon-holed as a black comedy. The black in this play heavily outweighs the comedy. What there is no dearth of in the plot are skeletons in the closet for basically every character in this most dysfunctional of Irish families.
Take 37 year old Greta (Karoline Rose O'Sullivan) - Marxist, atheist and married to philandering fellow atheist Englishman George. And that's the tip of the iceberg in the frailties. Is she crazy? Who knows? Greta can't quite work it out herself but George thinks her so. Aoife (Celia Kelly) is the middle sister. Basically the antithesis of Greta, Aoife is pushing against the tide in attempting to find a semblance of sanity in sticking with the ethos of her mother's Christian upbringing. Helen (Eilannin Dhu) is the youngest of the girls and a family mould breaker. Sex without commitments, making money and with a fake American accent because her Irish accent wouldn't have gained her access to the London real estate of her choice. So why not put on an English accent? "I'm not that traitorous." Throw in the Marxist atheist fisherman father, a musical student brother of similar ilk to the father, then the god fearing mother in a perpetual state of denial over the family's misgivings. It's a convoluted recipe for either a hysterical romp or an Irish tragedy of the bleakest kind. This is a play that kind of tries to be both. There is a reasonable smattering of sardonic wit and certainly it is giggle worthy. The humour, however, would probably resonate more profoundly with the Irish through the liberal layers of cultural specificity. Having said that, the political and religious sideswipes were global enough to raise regular titters from the audience. Far more poignant than the subtle jibes were the personal stories. A divided family, both geographically and ideologically, are brought back together partly through the illness of the patriarch but equally through a desire to rediscover the quasi joys of their youth under the one roof. As the story unfolds, those early years weren't near as rosy as they might have perceived.
The performances are polished, particularly that of our heroine Greta. Also impressive was the underplayed Mitchell Cox who fulfils a number of minor roles including the pragmatic Irish Catholic police officer. There were a few opening night jitters that should iron themselves out over the course of the few weeks that the production runs. One such issue, out of the control of the producers, is the sheer length of the play. At two and a half hours running time I had the feeling that Devlin could have significantly compressed the dialogue and subsequently added more impact to the overall dynamic.
After Easter is most definitely worth a look. At $35 there is plenty of punch for your Punt, at least it was the Punt when Devlin penned the piece. Showing at 7.30pm Fridays and Saturdays and a 3pm Sunday matinee up until May 3, this is a bohemian way to support grass roots theatre in Sydney.