Good Grief

Long after the play ends, you'll be thinking about After Ashley.

Mother and child reunion: Tobias Segal and Angela 
Reed in After Ashley.
Mother and child reunion: Tobias Segal and Angela Reed in After Ashley.

Alden becomes involved in the creation of a huge, luxurious shelter for battered women called Ashley's Place. Though Sam Gregory's performance as Alden is primarily comic, we do feel some empathy and understanding for the character. His wife is dead, Alden reasons. Does the kitschification of her image really matter? And purple ribbons and angel pictures aside, sheltering battered women is obviously a good thing. Justin, however, adheres to another doctrine: truth. To salvage Ashley from her insincere admirers, he summons a strange, slimy figure from her past, a sex videographer played with juicy authority by David Ivers, and publicly reveals her weakness and foolishness to the world. In a sense, his betrayal of Ashley is as complete as that of his father -- whom it devastates. Here Gionfriddo goes deeper than a mere critique of the media or an exploration of the border between private and public. She asks us to consider the meaning of a single, flawed human life, the redemptive importance of memory. Justin cannot grieve for his mother until he reclaims her. It's left to us, the audience, to judge whether his method is justified.

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