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First Play Read

Updated: Sep 23, 2019

This was the first time I read a whole play, and I am extremely glad I took the professor's recommendation of reading with a small group. It really helped bring out the emotions and atmosphere of the play - Artifacts of Consequence by Ashlin Halfnight.

I. The World of the Play

The space of the play is this very postapocalyptic built bunker where it contains a certain amount of people for survival when the rest of the world seems to be flooded and hence not livable.

The time of the play seems to be marked by the conversation in the telecom room, when Minna or Ari answer the knocks. The time feels pretty frantic in general, and for Minna and Dallas, that feeling gets emphasized, while for Ari and Theo, it seems to be more leisure. In addition, the time feels pretty much cyclical, every day is the same routine, every day is the same anxiety of survival.

The mood of the world in the play feels very anxious, and the tone of the play feels melancholy and cerebral. They are expressed and felt through the conversation of the characters and their reactions.

II. The Social World of the Play: A Closer Look

The world of the play seems to be half public and half private as it is in a bunker operated by Minna who decides who get to live and stay, while the decisions made in the bunker is also determined by the audience/evaluation group. The characters do not usually act solo, but rather interact with each other, helping each other go through this postapocalyptic world. Minna seems to be the center figure as she seems to have the most power over most people as the operator of the bunker. I could feel the tension among everyone in pairs, between Minna and Ari, between Ari and Theo, and between Theo and Dallas, between Dallas and Minna. The predominating language is swearing which perfectly convey the anxious feeling of survival throughout the whole play. The references of the literatures and movies in the conversation with Ari are also metaphorical.

III. What Changes?

The whole world of the bunker collapsed in the end as Minna shut down the facility. The language went from unemotional to total rage. The tone and mood of the play went from anxious to explosion, and to fright and panic in the end. The whole play moved from restlessness and distrust to liberation and explosion. However, the youngest character, Ari, did not necessarily change much, she was the most naive from the beginning, and still the most hopeful in the end.

IV. Don't Forget Yourself

I feel this play ultimately tests the humanity and so demanded us to empathize but also in search of the ethnical being of our core. Afterall, it shows the responsibility of each character and the priority in their own head, which makes us reflect on what are the most important to us that we would like to pass it down along the humanity.

V. Theatrical Mirrors

The play references many classical literatures and movies, while I do not know very well of the references, I did feel the relations between those works and what was going on in the bunker at the time. It often implies what was going through Ari's head and what values the main characters wanted the humanity to continue to have..

My Concept Sentence

One Simple Sentence:

In an underwater bunker, a group of people trying to survive.

One Complex Sentence: 

In a bunker under the flood, a group of people trying to survive with limited resources by risking to go out and bargain the resource, however, the operator of the bunker could not continue anymore under the strong moral pressure and the stress to be the God in the facility.

Three to Five Sentence:

After the world is flooded, there is this realistic version of the Noah's Ark. However, besides assisting the people inside the bunker to survive in the flooded world with resources some people in charge found in the outside world, the operator of the facility also decide who to live and who die in order to control the population within the bunker for the majority to survive. In the meanwhile, they pass along the preserved art work, literatures, and movies down the humanity, so the culture does not die off, and the youngsters could gain some insight and wisdom from them. Eventually, the operator could not take the tremendous amount of stress to maintain, even decide, the lives of a huge population, the bunker was shutdown. The world and the people is back to panic and forever in search of refuges.