The latest production from the Olentangy Liberty High School Theater Department is a journey though one man's psyche.
Performances of the psychological drama After the Fall are set for 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 16-18.
The story unfolds through a series of dreamlike vignettes plucked straight from the memory of the narrator, a middle-aged lawyer named Quentin who has always been unlucky in love.
He recently met a new woman who wants to marry him, but he can't help but dwell on his own shortcomings -- the same shortcomings that doomed all his past relationships.
"A lot of his reservations have to do with guilt and shame, truth and lying," said cast member Nick van Atta, who plays Quentin. "He's not sure if he can promise anything again, so he starts going through his memories to find out why he feels that way."
The non-linear story drifts from scene to scene as one memory triggers another.
In one sequence he recalls the collapse of his relationship with a woman named Maggie, a former phone operator who became a singing sensation overnight.
In another memory he is transported back to a courtroom in the 1950s where his friend is being tried as a Communist sympathizer.
And he recalls the troubled marriage of his parents, who never loved each other.
Dramatic lighting lends a dreamlike quality to the scenes as one memory bleeds into the next. Characters fade in and out and shadowy figures lurk just outside the edges of the light.
And the stage itself is topped with a tiered scaffold that represents the inner layers of Quetin's mind. The memories closest to the audience are most prominent in the character's mind, said Director Dan Skrovan said. Those farthest back are nearly lost.
"That's why there are so many levels. It's like you're peeling back the layers in his mind, and all these memories are taking place simultaneously," Skrovan said.
The story is loosely based on the real life of its author, Arthur Miller, who dated Marilyn Monroe and was involved in the McCarthy Hearings.
And the show has all the trappings of the era with costumes and set pieces pulled straight from the '50s.
Cast members said the play is dark, dramatic and thought-provoking.
Sarah Meixner, who portrays Quentin's mother, said the play asks big, universal questions that every audience member will relate to.
"It makes you think about whether or not you are really in control of your own future, and how much your future is determined by your past," Meixner said.
Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students and can be purchased at the door.