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Villanova Theatre Presents: Posterity

By Annie Stockmal and Rebecca Amrick

Photo courtesy of Villanova Theatre

Falvey Graduate Assistants Rebecca Amrick and Annie Stockmal had the pleasure of seeing Villanova Theatre’s latest production Posterity, and we left with high praises!

Written by playwright Wendy MacLeod, Posterity follows the stories of three families in (literal) snapshots through time as they live, love, and experience loss. It demonstrates that although the props around us, like our technologies and clothing, might change throughout time, the universal experience of living and losing and “the universal longing to freeze time and cling to those we hold dear” is a tale as old as perhaps time itself (and certainly since the inception of photography).

Here are Annie’s and Rebecca’s unique takes on the play:

Annie: In the post-performance talk-back that I attended on Sunday, Nov. 12, playwright Wendy MacLeod said that the bad elevator pitch for Posterity was, “it’s about photography and death.” While that’s certainly not an inaccurate synopsis of the play, it does not do it justice.

Posterity tackles a lot of difficult, yet all too common and relatable, topics in its 75-minute runtime, including death, suicide, mental health treatment and facilities, the ethics of photography, and love, and it does so with care, poignancy, and even, sometimes, humor. It evokes the sentimentality and nostalgia of looking back at the past while capturing the way our moments often fly by us in the present.

MacLeod mentioned in the talk-back that writing this play was a balancing act of toeing the line between mentally exhausting the audience and moving them. While it is certainly a somber, at times difficult, viewing experience, I believe MacLeod, Director Edward Sobel, and all six of the performers succeeded in moving and not exhausting.

Rebecca: Posterity is an incredibly moving and thought-provoking play that addresses serious themes in a respectful yet light-hearted manner. Inspired by the use of photography to memorialize incidents and people, the play takes commemoration to another level by allowing the audience to see snapshots of people’s lives. The role of commemoration in Posterity depicts how pictures sustain and shape memory.

The play is performed by six actors, so most of them play multiple characters. This dual-role helps establish connections between the three families and provides the audience with a visual representation of how the act of living is the same throughout the course of human history. Life, love, and loss are features inherent to humanity, and these powerful experiences pertain to every human being, no matter the time or place.

To learn more about Posterity and its cast and crew and to hear from the Production Dramaturg, check out this virtual playbill.

To find prompts for discussion or contemplation and content guides and warnings for the production, check out the education guide.

If you want to hear directly from the playwright herself, read our interview with Wendy MacLeod on the blog.

Tickets for Posterity are available for purchase here. Get yours now!

Annie Stockmal is a second-year graduate student in the Communication Department and Graduate Assistant in Falvey Library.





Rebecca AmrickRebecca Amrick is a first year graduate student in the English Department and a Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


Posterity Playwright Chats About Her New Villanova Show Opening: Four Fast Questions with Wendy MacLeod

Courtesy of Wendy MacLeod

The fashions change, the time changes, and the things that imperil our children change, but the love remains the same.

-Wendy MacLeod, Playwright, on her play Posterity, the new Villanova Theatre production 

By Shawn Proctor

Villanova Theatre presents Posterity, opening tomorrow, Nov. 9-19, and we were able to sit down with the playwright Wendy MacLeod to discuss her process and experience of bringing this new show to life with Villanova Professor and Director Edward Sobel, MFA.

Show notes: Through interlocking stories spanning centuries – from the Civil War to 9/11 and up to the present moment – three families seek connection, meaning and solace through the modern miracle of photography. As she brings to life intimacies between parents, children, siblings and lovers, award-winning playwright Wendy MacLeod brilliantly conjures the universal longing to freeze time and cling to those we hold dear forever. Performed by graduate acting students at Villanova. Content advisory below.

Courtesy of Villanova Theatre

Why did you choose to stage Posterity at Villanova?

It was because of my relationship with Ed (Sobel). We’ve worked together on at least two projects, and he’s a wonderful director. A wonderful dramaturg. I thought it would be great to workshop the play, taking advantage of his dramaturgical expertise. The facilities are also gorgeous. I had no idea how gorgeous until I arrived for rehearsal!

Tell me about the process of developing the play.

I didn’t do a lot of rewriting during the rehearsal process. Ed had seen a very early reading of the play on Zoom, and we did a little reshaping based on the fluidity of the scenes through time. We reordered some scenes because we wanted to make sure that somebody didn’t have to go offstage in a Civil War costume and immediately come back in contemporary mode.

Ed is such an experienced director and dramaturg of new plays that he knows the way playwrights work. He’s never prescriptive about “you should do this or you should do that.”

Michael Hollinger has been a wonderfully supportive artistic director, and a wonderful team of people are working on the play.

Photography is a big part of Posterity, and so the use of the slide projections are very important. We’re exploring how people use photographs to get through their grief. Are there photographs that violate people’s grief, like the “Falling Man” photo from 9-11, or are they part of history? What photos are a comfort? Do photographs actually steal your memories of the people because you no longer see the memories, only the photographs?

Posterity uses dual roles (*see more about this technique below)–the same actors in different roles in very contrasting time periods. How did that artistic choice help you tell this particular story?

I was interested in exploring the way that families are the same across time. So a mother’s love for her son going off to the Civil War is the same as a mother’s love for her child going off to boarding school, especially when you know the boy ends up having mental health issues that imperil his life.

The fashions change, the time changes, and the things that imperil our children change, but the love remains the same.

Is there anything you feel patrons should know beforehand to best be prepared to experience the performance?

The audience needs to understand that the same actors will be playing different characters, so I hope they aren’t confused by that. Also, in some ways, this is difficult subject matter. Death and suicide are part of this play. It’s dealt with a fairly light touch, so it’s not manipulative.

I hope people will come and be the play’s first audience!

Content advisory: Death, suicide.


* Did you know… you probably know a famous theatre production that uses dual roles? Hamilton, the breakout Broadway hit, featured several dual roles, including Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson, John Laurens/Philip Hamilton, and Hercules Mulligan/James Madison!

Did you also know that Falvey has the complete libretto of Hamilton, including production notes and alternative lyrics? Check it out today!


Shawn Proctor Head shot

Shawn Proctor, MFA, is a Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Library.



Last Modified: November 8, 2023

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