After the Blast

Tonight, we went to see After the Blast, a show at the Lincoln Center about the aftermath of a huge devastation that happens on earth that results in all human beings needing to retreat underground to survive. No one is able to feel the sun on their face again, or see a blue or grey sky, or even see wind blow through trees or bushes. Every “experience” is simulated, and everything is regulated from the amount of water you drink per day to the ability to move forward and get pregnant and have children. The two protagonists in the play are struggling with fertility, as they’ve been rejected many times by a council in their request to get pregnant. The wife is suffering from depression and wants very badly to go back to earth again, but at the rate they are going, it could take over 100 years to get there, and she will obviously be gone before then.

A few things struck me about the play. One of the first comments she makes when she’s having a seemingly two-sided chat with a robot who has been rented to help her is around stupid things that humans say that are actually terrible. Why do we say “having a blast” to connote “having a good time”? After having a massive explosion on earth that resulted in everyone who survived needing to retreat, that saying has taken on a new meaning for her. And why do humans say “shits and giggles” to mean “having fun,” as well? Is “shit” fun? And when her husband Oliver asks if she remembers when they used to sit in restaurants and have water immediately poured into their glasses.. and then quickly refilled once even half a glass was consumed… isn’t that just the craziest thing, to live in a time and a place where the amount of water was not regulated, where you could drink freely and no one ever admonished you or measured what you were doing?

And then I remembered — that water comment is specifically about the U.S. When I’m in other countries like Australia, they don’t just pour water freely without asking into your glass and throw it out when you are gone. They have carafes of water at the tables with empty glasses at your place mats so you take what you want and leave behind what you don’t. This fucking wasteful country. We have no idea how good we have it and exactly how wasteful we really are.

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