Loyola Alum Performs in Her First Post-Lockdown Production

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Teresa Kuruvilla, a 31-year-old Loyola alum, is set to perform in playwright Zoe Kazan’s “After the Blast,” a play about the psychological stress of being trapped inside for years after a catastrophic event. Sound familiar? Kuruvilla thinks so too. 

“It’s very reminiscent to where we’ve been for the last two years with COVID — feeling elation, some hope at times, some lack of hope at times, and that balance between some people being really optimistic, like ‘We’re gonna get through this soon,’ and other people being like, ‘This is it for the long haul,’” she said. 

According to Kuruvilla, the size of the post-apocalyptic setting of the play is wide, but the scale of the conflict is narrow and deep. The play follows a couple who are trying to have a baby but are struggling to get approval to do so because of one partner — Anna’s — mental health struggles. 

Kuruvilla plays Carrie, best friend and confidant to Anna. She said her character’s perspective contrasts some of the other characters. 

“My character is one of those people who is accepting of what’s going on and is just trying to make the most of it, so her perspective is one that’s very energized and fresh, but also one that’s very much trying to control what’s going on and keep things moving so she doesn’t go crazy,” she said.  

Kuruvilla graduated from Loyola with a BFA in music performance and a BBA in marketing. While she said she was only involved in a few theater productions at Loyola, she does fondly remember the “gorgeous” views on campus. 

“It feels very new. Just as an actor, I’m trying to figure out how to do this again.”

Loyola alum Teresa Kuruvilla

“My dorm room pretty much literally overlooked the water,” the 2012 alumna said. “You could literally throw something out the window and hit the water. That was such a magical experience.” 

The themes of “After the Blast” are dense and often dark. Kuruvilla said it’s important to find some ways to shake off the seriousness after a scene. 

“It’s a relatively serious play,” she said. “There’s definitely some moments of levity in it, but it deals with some serious stuff, so the moments in which the whole cast is very focused and then some joke or something silly will happen, that is very much appreciated — it’s a fun dynamic.” 

There are some worries associated with post-lockdown theater, even for shows that don’t deal with such heavy topics. This is Kuruvilla’s first in-person show since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, so she said it’s hard to readjust to interacting with actors in a physical space. 

“It feels very new. Just as an actor, I’m trying to figure out how to do this again,” Kuruvilla said. 

Kuruvilla said it has also been a lot of fun to get back to working with a scene partner and bouncing off of their energy, especially in a scene where her character learns some news from the main character, Anna. 

Broken Nose Theatre (1331 N. Milwaukee Ave.) is a pay-what-you-can theater company, so Kuruvilla encourages students who might not usually have the money to see live theater to come and see the show. 

“I know from my time at Loyola that when you’re in school you don’t always have all the cash in the world,” she said. “If you’re an artist of any kind, it’s always great to see shows throughout the city, in a variety of different disciplines.” 

“After the Blast” opens at the Broken Nose Theatre on May 16 at 7:30 p.m.

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