Titanic Aftermath - a play in three acts

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Authored by Michael B. Wehrli, Michael B. Wehrli

Titanic AftermathBased on the Senate Hearing transcripts, the British Inquiry and survivor accounts, Titanic Aftermath is told through the eyes of J. Bruce Ismay, president of the White Star Line at the time of the disaster. He is now near the end of his life in mental anguish over his role in the disaster after having spent twenty five years in seclusion. He is still unable to come to terms with his and White Star's culpability. His nights are spent in torment reliving the event and hearing the voices from the past. Enter the spirits of three who did not survive the disaster - an Officer of the Titanic, a First Class Woman Passenger, and a Third Class Woman Passenger. They visit him in his last desperate hours in order to confront him with the truths about his company's role in the tragedy and force him to relive that fateful night through the testimonials of the survivors.

J. Bruce Ismay is taken on a sweeping journey towards absolution. Guided by the First Class Woman, the Third Class Woman, and the Officer, Ismay relives the heat of the Senate Hearings and British Inquiry. Ismay and company are taken to task on several of the mistruths, outright lies and overall whitewashing that came out of the hearings. Furthermore, he is forced to bear witness and relive the infamous night itself through the most personal stories of the survivors. His own inner journey involves coming to terms with his own deeply felt guilt and his continuing sorrow over the tragedy. With the help of the other characters, he slowly becomes aware of the great lessons to be learned from the tragedy.

On another level, the play examines the role of huge corporations whose risk management decisions directly lead to the disaster. Many revelations are brought out in this highly researched play. We learn that Titanic was far from being state-of-the-art in safety features. The audience also discovers that the very corporations which owned the huge liners also controlled how the industry was regulated. Not surprisingly, they decided that profit and luxury trumped the need for complete safety. Obviously, this is a theme that unfortunately continues to resonate today.

About the author:
Michael Wehrli is long time theatre professional with 20 years experience in playwrighting, teaching, directing, acting, producing, and theatre administration. He has B.F.A. in Acting & Directing from Texas Christian University and since 1994 has been the Artistic and Education director for New Moon Productions Theatre Company (NMP).

Michael is a long time Titanic history buff and remembers vividly reading "A Night To Remember" by Walter Lord for the first time. He was only twelve years old at the time but it left a deep impression. From then on from time to time throughout his life, he has continued to delve into the stories of the Titanic disaster.

As a playwright, he has written or adapted 18 full length plays (all of which have been produced) and over eighty short plays and scenes for students. Some of his favorite full length scripts are "Titanic Aftermath" (an original script based on survivor accounts), "Found Lives" (based on the real life stories of Schizophrenia sufferers), "A Christmas Chaos", and "Dracula" and dozens of scripts for youth audiences.

Michael's directing credits include over 70 plays in many venues in Portland Oregon and the Dallas/Fort Worth area in Texas. As an actor, he has been seen on many stages in Dallas/Fort Worth and has made a few appearances here in Portland. His favorite roles include the "Hamlet" in Hamlet, The Third Man in "Baltimore Waltz", Iago in "Othello", Stafford in "Sisterly Feelings", Scarecrow in "Wizard of Oz", and Benedick in "Much Ado About Nothing".

He currently works as a theatre teacher and director and continues to write, produce and direct shows in Portland.



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Encyclopedia Titanica (2011) Titanic Aftermath - a play in three acts ( ref: #11997, published 30 March 2011, generated 17th June 2021 05:21:24 PM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-aftermath-a-play-in-three-acts.html