AFTER ALL by Carol Anderson, directed by Diane Roberts, with Karen Glave, Jeff Jones, Andrea Henry and Kobena Aquaa-Harrison. Presented by b current as part of rock.paper.Sistahz 3 at Passe Muraille Backspace (16 Ryerson). Runs (with various workshop pieces) to May 23, Wednesday-Saturday 8 pm, matinee Sunday 2:30 pm. $15. 416-504-7529. Rating: NNN Rating: NNNNN
Can you go home again to a parent who abandoned you? The grown-up daughter ( Karen Glave ) in Carol Anderson 's After All isn't sure she wants to attempt it, even when she gets a letter from the father ( Jeff Jones ) she hasn't seen since she was four. Three months after receiving the letter, she still hasn't opened it.
Anderson's poetic play is fired with emotions, from the smouldering anger of the daughter, a painter who keeps trying to capture her dreams on canvas and make peace with them, to the beseeching need of the father who wants some sort of reconciliation. They both recall warmer times, but she has too many unanswered questions about him to ignore her feelings of betrayal.
While the emotional drive of the piece is beautifully modulated, its narrative is sometimes slow and predictable. Some episodes begin promisingly but take too long to come to a climax; we know where the characters are going before they get there.
The performances under Diane Roberts 's direction are splendidly realized, the central pair finely supported by an angelic figure played by Andrea Henry - her singing is indeed heavenly - and Kobena Aquaa-Harrison 's offstage music. At its best in quiet, lyrical moments, Anderson's script takes us to the heart of a family after all.