Plan-B Theatre’s ‘Aftershock’ Highlights Womanhood and Relationships


Estephani Cerros in “Aftershock” at Plan-B Theatre. (Courtesy Sharah Meservy)

By Hannah Keating, Arts Editor


Plan-B Theatre continues their 2022 season “In Person. In Color” with “Aftershock,” written by Iris Salazar and performed in the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center. With direction from Plan-B founder and managing director Cheryl Ann Cluff, Salazar’s play is an intimate and familiar look into relationships and loneliness pre and mid-pandemic.

Shock to the Settings

Aftershock” will feel familiar to Plan-B’s audience — it’s set in Salt Lake City following the 2020 earthquake after the start of lockdown. Teah, a single, Latina Mormon woman attends her first therapy session in the wake of this turmoil and finds herself in a dream-like audition for a reality dating show. Exploring her life through the lens of romantic relationships with therapist and host of “The Bachelor’s Matchmaker” Dr. Love Dearest, Teah shares her responsibilities, guilts, loves and hurts.

Plan-B are experts at providing a show like this the intimate setting it requires. With limited seating in their black box, the small playing space easily transforms with the help of some key props and set pieces, designed by Janice Chan and Arika Schockmel. The environment felt romantic without being fluffy, gilded without being gaudy. A disco ball and a chandelier lie on the ground, throwing rose gold shimmers in the air. Broken marble statues of women holding jewelry line the upstage wall. A single red chaise lounge chair, a side table and a metronome clicking throughout the therapy session complete the space.


Teah, played by Estaphani Cerros, reminds me of girls I knew growing up in Idaho and Utah — content to serve certain roles in her family and society without shame, but not willing to put up with anything. Cerros subtly navigates the character’s emotional weight with the ugly truth of her world as Teah faces harassment from men and comments about her virginity, her faith, her weight, her skin color and more. In its seriousness, Salazar implements a comedic trope that gives Teah back some power — the reality show censors her curse words live, so she speaks her mind without limits in this “audition.”

Cerros and Yolanda Strange, who plays the attentive and eccentric Dr. Love Dearest, are not alone in telling Teah’s story. 4 other players enter the stage in monochrome outfits of pinks and purples, adding to the poppy, feminine aesthetic contrasting with Teah’s muted blues. Pedro Flores and Danny Borba give genuine performances as creeps, balancing the disgusting reality with irony the audience recognizes. Sam Torres and Liza Shoell make many appearances as different characters, my favorite being the comedy and severity of the cold gynecologist and her disinterested nurse. While Cerros is definitely at the center of the action, “Aftershock” is more of an ensemble piece than expected, contributing to the emphasis on familial, platonic and romantic relationships.


Every time I attend one of their shows, I’m impressed with Plan-B’s efforts to make theatre accessible. Masks are worn, distance is kept, online playbills feature audio recordings and large print scripts and shows are being streamed — a shameless plug to look into available streaming tickets. Salazar’s first full-length play was perfect for Plan-B’s highlight this season, and I’m sure it will be one that audiences resonate with. Tickets are available here.


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