Jenny McConnell Frederick selected “After the Quake” for the Rorschach Theatre’s season opener more than a year ago, and chose Aug. 23 as the date for the cast’s first rehearsal last week. It’s an astonishing coincidence that the founding artistic director is calling “Strangely lucky.”
“Anything that a cast can have as a shared experience will make the show stronger,” said McConnell Frederick.
Such as: experiencing an earthquake on the day that they’re supposed to get into character as survivors of an earthquake.
“After the Quake” is a collection of short stories by Japanese author Haruki Murakami, written in response to the 1995 Kobe, Japan earthquake.
“It's about a love triangle and this writer who tells stories to a little girl, and a giant frog that saves Tokyo,” McConnell Frederick said. “They're surreal and dreamlike. It's about the earthquake, but as a background.”
McConnell Frederick said that she selected the play more than a year ago, but has held onto it until now because she wanted to find the right venue for it. When a space at the Atlas in the District opened up, she thought the play would be a perfect fit.
Tonight at rehearsal, she expects that her cast will have “a lot of adrenaline.” “They'll see how it will feed into the performances,” she says, and she plans to address the cast’s discoveries about their characters and themselves after the earthquake in the program.
“After the Quake” opens Oct. 10 at the Atlas Theatre on H Street, N.E.— a date far enough away that the excitement about the earthquake will have long passed. But for now, McConnell Frederick has joked on the Rorschach Facebook page that they are running a heck of a marketing campaign.