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afterlife: a ghost story - Full Length Play, Drama

afterlife: a ghost story

Steve Yockey

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Full Length Play, Drama

3m, 3f

ISBN: 9780573700866

A ghost story in the most literal sense, afterlife follows married couple Connor and Danielle as they prepare their beachfront home for an impending storm. But when the storm rolls in faster than expected, it may be too late for the them to escape the haunting world of unsent letters, unexpected snow, unfinished sand castles, unrelenting birds, and unforgettable loss that threatens to swallow the pair forever.

More Information Below:

Description | Characters | Rental Materials | Author | Now Playing | Reviews
: Acting Edition
: Large Print
: Stage Manager

Minimum Fee: $75 per performance


Full Length Play



120 minutes (2 hours)

Time Period - Contemporary, Present Day

Settings Of Play - Act 1 takes place in and around a modern beach house in the shadow of an impending storm; it has warmth to it, somewhere people live. Home. In Act 2, the stage is radically altered into 3 spare playing areas demarcated by light and markings on the ground: the inside of a small cabin, a clearing among bare birch trees and a simply appointed teahouse.


Puppetry, Special Effects

Interior Set, Exterior Set, Bare Stage/Simple Set, Opportunity for Spectacle

Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes, Fantasy Costumes


Intense Adult Themes, Strong Language




College Theatre / Student, Community Theatre, Professional Theatre, Shoestring Budget, Large Stage, Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

A ghost story in the most literal sense, afterlife follows married couple Connor and Danielle as they prepare their beachfront home for an impending storm. They do their best to come together and get the job done while packing up items stained by painful memories they don’t know how to talk about. But when the storm rolls in faster than expected and a great wave rises up to drag them under, it may be too late for the them to come to terms with their history and escape the haunting world of unsent letters, unexpected snow, unfinished sand castles, unrelenting birds, and unforgettable loss that threatens to swallow the pair forever.

“…a play doesn’t have to be haunting, literally, in order to be intriguing and mysteriously compelling. Ghost or no ghost, afterlife aims to raise some goosebumps.” - American Theatre Magazine

“The haunting fright of afterlife comes not from a traditional sense of horror but from within… Yockey doesn’t present a specific view or theology or God here, but there is a sense of afterlife being a post-modern take on ‘The Divine Comedy’… ensure[s] some lively discussion on the way home from the theatre on the meaning of it all.” – New Orleans Times Picayune

“…unnerving drama… There’s scant comfort but a lot of engrossing drama in playwright Yockey’s take on the afterlife. afterlife: a ghost story is a ride most people will enjoy” - Edge Boston

“Suffice it to say that if the explosive ending of the first act delivers chills of the oldfashioned, scary-movie kind, the final scenes of afterlife leave a lingering chill of a more ambiguous sort.” - The Boston Globe

afterlife: a ghost story was presented in workshop as a part of Southern Rep’s “New Play Bacchanal” January 21 – 24, 2010. It then opened in full production on October 23, 2010 at Southern Rep in New Orleans, LA, under Artistic Director Aimee Hayes and Managing Director Marieke Gaboury. It was directed by Aimee Hayes.


3m, 3f


Expandable casting, Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle), Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)


The "Black Bird" character is a puppet operated by the actor playing the Postman.


No Chorus

DANIELLE - a woman, thirties, a wife, with a sharp wit and wounded heart, unrecovered and angry but putting up a front, holding a grudge epic in both scale and focus
CONNOR - a man, thirties, a husband, attractive, affable, even charming; doing his best under the circumstances, but sorely mistaken in the belief that things are getting better
YOUNG MAN - a young man, late teens, optimistic, hopeful and brave, fueled by half-memories & things collected along the way; his clothes are worse for wear
THE PROPRIETRESS - a woman, effortlessly assured, precise, very neat and put together, hospitable running her teahouse, she is the ocean and means business
THE SEAMSTRESS - a woman, a raw nerve, taunting, mocking, a guest long past her welcome and unwilling to leave; rage, regret & laughter while wasting away
BLACK BIRD - a large, articulate bird, black feathers, warm and gentle in demeanor, seemingly playful but only as a means to an end; a functionary, a messenger
POSTMAN - a letter carrier, someone who lives at sea, brusque but humane, in layers, a jacket & wool cap with a satchel; a functionary, a messenger
Rental Materials


N/A (Not a musical)


N/A (Not a musical)

Steve Yockey

Steve Yockey

Steve Yockey is a Los Angeles based writer with work produced throughout the US, Europe, and Asia. His plays Afterlife, Octopus, Large Animal Games, CARTOON, Subculture, Very Still & Hard to See, The Fisherman’s Wife, Wolves, Disassembly, and Niagara Falls & Other Plays are published and available from Samuel French. Additionally, his play Joshua Consumed an Unfortunate Pear was included in the ... view full profile

Now Playing
Meg Wallace 8/31/2017 4:36 PM
Sami Berry 7/13/2016 4:14 PM
Skyler Gray 4/26/2013 3:23 AM
afterlife: a ghost story by Steve Yockey, is a fantastical journey into the depths of loss and the waves of the past that continue to crash upon us.  Danielle and her husband Connor return to their oceanfront home to prepare for an impending storm.  The couple’s homecoming is the first since their son's death.  The imminent storm has forced them to not only face their fear of the past, but also preserve the home that harbors the hurtful remembrances of what once was.  The couple finds the beach to be different somehow; perhaps it is the piles of dead fish on the shore and large black birds littering the surf.  Danielle begins to hear the faint sound of her son calling to her from the water.  As Connor readies the house to face the storm, the voices from the ocean overcome Danielle and lure her to the sea.  Connor is able to save Danielle, but only in body as her mind has been trapped in the deadly depths below. The couple faces the storm head on and are propelled into a purgatory state where large black birds talk and memories linger like falling snow.

afterlife: a ghost story is dark in tone and vibrant in imagery as the play crescendos into a striking tragedy of love and loss.  Yockey intertwines the fantastical and the realistic to create a familiar world in which anything can happen.  Danielle and Connor struggle to not only keep their marriage together, but find the strength to journey on when the pain of the past stings at their every move.  This hauntingly beautiful play asks the question: what do you do when hardest part of living is remembering?

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