Joe Calarco

Full Length Play, Drama  /  7f, 2m

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.
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  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    7f, 2m
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    • Appropriate for all audiences
    • Adult
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

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. 

Aftershock was commissioned and produced in 2009 by Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia under the direction of Marcia Gardner.


Performing Groups
  • High School/Secondary

Licence details

  • Minimum Fee: £30 per performance plus VAT when applicable.



  • Time Period: New Millennium/21st Century, 1940s / WWII


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


7f, 2m
Cast Attributes
  • Role(s) for Black Actor(s)
  • Roles for Teens
Q - Female (could be male) 17yo. A slam poet. 
RUTHIE - Female. 17yo. Inquisitive. Smart. Sensitive. Angry.
AYANA - Female. 19yo. African American. Passionate.
RUTH - Female  14yo. Jewish girl during the Holocaust. Haunted. 
MAKEMBA - Female 16yo. From the Congo. Smart. Protective.
NEGIE - Female 14yo. From the 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. Works for the Red Cross. Compassionate.
FATHER TIMOTHY - Male. 30yo. Played by the same actor who plays Timothy. Caring.




  • AftershockTrailer

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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 ...

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