Afterlife: The Play

I recently watched a play that my friend acted in. It is called Afterlife, and it was adapted from a 1998 Japanese film of the same name. The story follows a junction that souls visit after people pass away. In this junction, there will be counsellors that help these souls find a happy memory from their lifetime that they would like reconstructed and brought with these souls when they move into the afterlife. Should any soul not pick a happy memory to bring with them, they will remain stuck at this junction, bound to become a counsellor for the rest of eternity. 

It was a show that kept me rapt at attention as I attentively listened to every single one of the character’s dialogues as they lamented over the things they left behind in the living world, or the lack thereof. I listened as these souls tried to bargain their way out of this confusing situation and their disbelief at their passing. As the play went on, the memories and personalities of these characters unravelled to reveal each of their stories. Although all the characters had such interesting stories, three particular ones struck me: a businessman who lived a mundane and honest life whose late wife made him feel as though as he was but a shadow of the man she truly loved, an elderly lady who lost so much in her life that she would rather be done with it than replay the memories in her lifetime for fear that they will haunt her constantly and a young man whose life was bounded to the hospital bed from his very first memory and grieves the lack of experience he had while he was still alive. These three had me in a heart-wrenching grip as I watched them explore the depths of their fears and regrets, their hopes and happy memories. The play reaches its finale as the characters were given their happiest memories and you could see the wonder that was brought to their faces. You could see the happiness that dawned on their previously ash-fallen faces and the warm light that filled it as they became a part of their happiest dream forever, one that will constantly play and accompany them for the rest of their afterlife. However, I also watched as the bed-ridden young man stood still. He watched sadly as the rest of the souls departed for the afterlife joyful and content. 

I remembered feeling the tears that welled in my eyes as I watched the characters finally achieve peace and come to terms with their passing, but also for the man who could not pick any single happy memory that he would like to relive because he genuinely came up with none. In the midst of my tears, all I thought was: if my life were to end here, would I be able to pick such a precious memory that I want to carry and relive over and over again when I pass? Have I made sure to live my life to its fullest capacity with the resources and opportunities I have been graciously given? I cannot confidently say I can and I have. 

Truly, how many of us have actually stopped to notice the little things around us or the blessings we are given? Have we fully appreciated the people we love and those who care for us? It can be so difficult to be so caught up in Life’s busy schedule that we feel as though we do not have a break for ourselves. However, if we are not careful, we might just let all of our happy moments pass by without a care until it is too late. So, perhaps, take the chance while you still can to really notice what is going on around you. Take those spontaneous little trips with your friends. Pick up those phone calls from your parents. Go on those walks and take chances to build little happy moments with the strangers around you. Keep collecting those happy memories until your mind is filled to the brim with them and keep them close. Perhaps then, if the counsellors from that junction were to ask you what your favorite memory is, you would be lost not from the lack of happy memories you could conjure, but from the abundance that you had in your lifetime. Only then, I believe, can you truly say you have lived your life.

So let me ask you: what is one happy memory you would like to relive?

Interested in these plays? Find out more through this website!


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