by  Joe Calarco

Full Length Play, Drama  /  2m, 7f

From the collection Signature in the Schools Vol. I. Signature in the Schools uses theater to open the minds and broaden the viewpoints of local teens while engaging them in a positive creative experience.

Read more +
License Estimator

Use this tool for cost estimates based on your specific needs.

  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    2m, 7f
  • Duration


    60 minutes (1 hour)
  • SubGenre


    Theatre for Young Audiences
  • Accolades


    Not Applicable
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Appropriate for all audiences
    • Adult
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

While preparing for a class paper about the aftermath of political tragedies, stories of survival come alive before contemporary high school student Ruth. In the aftermath of Katrina, two young people struggle to survive in the face of extreme disaster. In 1945 Belgium, an adolescent Jewish girl struggles to maintain her identity and dignity. And, in the Congo, a girl faces situations that stretch beyond the devastating and into the unspeakable. Each of these stories interconnect in ways that remind Ruth (and the audience) of the incredible suffering mankind has endured and persisted through. 

Read more +


  • AftershockTrailer
More videos +


Performing Groups

  • Jr High/Primary
  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Reader's Theatre
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups
  • Youth/Camp Programs


  • No Special Cautions

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $55 per performance



  • Time Period: Contemporary, Present Day, New Millennium/21st Century, 1940s / WWII
  • Duration: 60 minutes (1 hour)
  • Setting:

    Belgium, 1945: A small country kitchen, Ruth's Bedroom
    New Orleans, 2005: The Superdome, a rooftop in the Lower 9th Ward
    The rainforest of the Congo
    Ruthie's bedroom

  • Additional Features: No intermission
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes, Period Costumes


2m, 7f

Q - Female (could be male) 17yo. A slam poet. 
RUTHIE - Female. 17yo. American. Jewish. Inquisitive. Smart. Sensitive. Angry.
AYANA - Female. 19yo. African American. Passionate.
RUTH - Female  14yo. Jewish girl during the Holocaust. Haunted. 
MAKEMBA - Female 16yo. From the Democratic Republic of Congo. Smart. Protective.
NEGIE - Female 14yo. From the Democractic Republic of Congo. Playful. Resourceful.
SARAH - Female 14yo. A hidden child of the Holocaust in Belgium. Effervescent. 
PATRICK - Male. 18yo. Smart. Goes where the wind takes him.
TIMOTHY - Male. 20yo. American. Jewish. Works for the Red Cross. Compassionate.
FATHER TIMOTHY - Male. 30yo. A Catholic priest in Belgium post WWII. Played by the same actor who plays Timothy. Caring.

See all +

Cast Attributes

  • Role(s) for Black Actor(s)
  • Roles for Teens



Joe Calarco

Joe Calarco's published work includes in the absence of spring (inaugural production of Second Stage’s New Plays Uptown series, included in The Best Stage Scenes of 2004), Shakespeare’s R&J (Lucille Lortel Award), Walter Cronkite is Dead, and his short plays, Just A Little Sniffle and Parting Gifts. Other adaptations i ...

View full profile

Aftershock was commissioned and produced in 2009 by Tony Award winning Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia for their flagship, award winning, education program, Signture in the Schools.

Now Playing

Community Experiences