The following piece was submitted by Ann Blake, the creator of The Morning After The Life Before. The piece is part of QDF’s series of artist-submitted works detailing experiences creating at the 27th edition of the St-Ambroise Montreal FRINGE Festival.

What always drew me to theatre was the chance to pretend to be someone else so I never expected to write a show about my own life. The Morning After The Life Before charts my own story of coming out, a bit late in life, but also looks at Ireland during and after the historic referendum on Marriage Equality in 2015. I need to mention, at this point, that it is a light-hearted play.

I loved theatre from a very young age and, despite trying to pursue more stable employment, have found myself still ‘play-acting’ in adulthood. Acting, play-writing, directing – like a lot of theatre makers these days, I find myself multi-tasking. Comedy improv also stole my heart a number of years ago and, joining forces with other improvisers, formed Choke Comedy in my hometown Limerick, Ireland in 2008. Music is also a big love and I play, alongside both my brothers, in the band The Brad Pitt Light Orchestra. We dabble in theatre too.

This summer sees a lot of firsts for me: my first time performing my own work internationally, my first time performing in Canada and my first time coming to Montreal – ever. To say the least, I am very excited. Montreal is a city I have always had a fascination with and an interest in going to. Anyone I know who has been here, raves about its cultural vibrance, diversity and being downright fun. Being drawn in the lottery was brilliant and one hell of a creative kick in the ass to get this show up and running, not just in Montreal but in Ireland too.

The Morning After The Life Before sees me team up with a wonderful versatile performer, Lucia Smyth, who has the arduous task of representing everyone in my life around me including both my parents and my partner Jenny. While this play is my own story, Lucia’s personality brings a very particular dynamic to the show which audiences took great delight in during our run in Ireland from May 24th -27th. I was very happy to get to work with Paul Meade as a director. He is a fantastic dramaturg as well as director and really pushed me with the script.

The play is great fun as well as being a personal story. I am a big believer that if you approach heavy subjects with the right amount of lightness and humour you can really achieve something special. Also, when possible, add a song – that always helps!

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