After Liverpool - by James Saunders (1971)
© 1973 James Saunders
published by Samuel French (London, England), 1973
(Games and After Liverpool - James Saunders)
ISBN 0 573 02501 0
also contains Games
film adaptation, directed by Michael Haneke, 1974
"After Liverpool is not a play but a suite of pieces, to be performed by one or more actors and one or more actresses. The order in which the pieces are played is not specified. Using a musical analogy, the script gives some themes, within and between which any number of variations are possible."
- James Saunders (Introduction to the play)
"Basement Arts introduces a new, clever performance of James Saunders' After Liverpool this weekend. The show consists of a series of scenes created by theatre students and faculty director Phillip Kerr. This production began as a workshop for Kerr's fall acting class, yet its fabulous end product resulted in its ability to share the production with the University and Ann Arbor communities.
In this production, students come together and make something great: something that is fun, interesting, worthwhile and original. It seems that time and time again, plays are performed in a certain, predictable fashion. So when something as nontraditional as "After Liverpool" comes around, the audience can be stunned.
After Liverpool is broken up into separate segments, and there is no order in which these segments need to be performed. This production will definitely relay the togetherness and impulsiveness felt by the student actors in the class, who were given the freedom from Kerr to direct individual scenes.
The 26 scenes take place around the same shared space between characters 'M' and 'W'. Actor and 3rd year theatre major, Tony Von Halle says that though it is a complete script, nowhere does it suggest that 'M' and 'W' are single characters - hence we're managed to split up the scenes amongst nine actors.
Originally there were 16 actors, but a few had to leave the production last minute. Ironically, Von Halle thinks this will only add more thrill to the play. What's exciting is watching how we, as actors, find the balance of picking up that unfamiliar script, and apply it to a scene without missing a beat...this has been treated as if it were a studio, he said. The cast includes Aaron Michael Sherry, Von Halle, Dan Hall, Quinn Strassel, Gavin Kenny, Emily Whyte, Patti Lavery, Caroline Peacock, Jen Lima and Jen Guerra.
Von Halle suggests that the audience watch for the natural patterns of relationships during the course of the scenes. These includes the ways in which verbal communication is used, the peculiarities of people, and how difficult it is to leave a loved one.
After Liverpool is certain to leave the audience with a sense of compassion, thoughtfulness and realism due to its themes, said Von Halle, such as the silly quirks we as human beings are willing to share with a loved one, no matter how vulnerable it makes us."
- Robyn Melamed (26 Jan 2000, Daily Michigan Online)