Graphic for Andrea Dworkin's "Aftermath"

AFTERMATH by Andrea Dworkin

edited for the stage by Adam Thorburn

A special online encore presentation

Watch our archive recording online starting April 1, 2021 – click here for Vimeo On Demand (paid) or free Sundays

Closed captions are available on both the rental and free versions.

All photography by Gemma Stevens

In September 2015, Montreal’s Waterworks Company mounted the first full staging of AFTERMATH, a one-woman play adapted from Dworkin’s essay “My Suicide”, written in secret in the aftermath of a drug-rape in a Paris hotel in 1999.

We’re proud to make public, for a limited time, our archival recording of this powerful event, starring Helena Levitt, directed by Tracey Houston and Rob Langford, with lighting design by James Douglas.

Andrea Dworkin (1946-2005), writer and tireless campaigner against sexual violence and exploitation, remains one of the most controversial and unapologetic voices in the history of feminism.

In AFTERMATH, Dworkin brings us painfully close to the interior experience of trauma, violence, and missing memory, as well as to her profound doubts about her own life and work.

… a powerful, anguished performance …”

Jim Burke, Montreal Gazette

… the show really has a perfect combination in these two things, a brilliant actor and impactful and stinging language.

Madeleine Copp, Mooney on Theatre (Toronto)

… Bone chilling … blown away by the intensity… an unforgettable and transformative evening … gut-wrenching, can’t breathe … a spiritual experience…”

Audience comments

Rent AFTERMATH

AFTERMATH is available for rent on Vimeo On Demand through April and May 2021. Rental cost (stream for 72 hours) is $5 Canadian / $4 US / £3 UK / € 3.50 Europe.

View AFTERMATH free

The video is also available for free streaming each Sunday (noon EDT / 4 pm GMT) to Monday (noon EDT / 4 pm GMT) through the period.

Please feel welcome to view either version, but please consider supporting the company and artists by renting the video if you can. Closed captions are available on both versions.

THE FREE VERSION OF AFTERMATH IS AVAILABLE HERE

EACH SUNDAY FROM NOON EDT / 4 PM GMT, FOR 24 HOURS
THROUGH APRIL / MAY 2021


AFTERMATH is presented by special arrangement with The Estate of Andrea Dworkin. Text copyright © 2005, 2007, 2014 by The Estate of Andrea Dworkin. All rights reserved.

The recording of AFTERMATH is made available courtesy of ACTRA.


this is my note in a bottle

Read about AFTERMATH


Suzanne Zaccour – writer, activist, and jurist

Read Suzanne Zaccour‘s essay about AFTERMATH and Andrea Dworkin, HOW TO TELL A GOOD RAPE STORY / COMMENT BIEN RACONTER SON VIOL on AFTERMATH in English or French

AFTERMATH is about refusing to shut up. This is Andrea Dworkin’s story, but it is also all of ours.

Suzanne Zaccour
Writer, jurist, activist – read her full essay “How to Tell a Good Rape Story” here

AFTERMATH, c’est l’histoire du refus de se la fermer. C’est l’histoire d’Andrea Dworkin, mais c’est aussi notre histoire à toutes.

Suzanne Zaccour
Autrice, juriste, activiste – lire le texte intégral de son essai “Comment bien raconter son viol” ici

The directors and star of AFTERMATH

Read Tracey Houston, Rob Langford, and Helena Levitt’s recollections of the original 2015 production of AFTERMATH at HowlRound

The power of Aftermath is in the clarity and deep self-realization of Andrea’s writing. Our goal was to avoid anything that watered down the play’s uncomfortable directness.

Tracey Houston & Rob Langford, directors of AFTERMATH – read the full essay here

About Andrea Dworkin

Andrea Dworkin was born in 1946 in Camden, New Jersey. She read voraciously from childhood, and was determined to become a writer. Plunging into the emerging 1960s counterculture, she attracted widespread media attention when, after being arrested during an anti-war protest and held in Manhattan’s Women’s House of Detention, she spoke out about sexual abuse by male prison doctors.

During two sojourns in Europe, she continued to develop her writing, occasionally resorting to prostitution to make ends meet. In 1969, Dworkin married a Dutch anarchist in Amsterdam. He soon began to beat and abuse her, and in 1971, she made her escape back to the United States, with the support (sometimes at their own risk) of friends who were part of the emerging feminist movement. In gratitude to these supporters, she vowed that she would spend the rest of her life in the service of the women’s movement- a vow that she kept.

In 1974, she published the first of her 13 books, Woman Hating, and embarked on a career of writing and public speaking on behalf of women. At around the same time, she met a fellow activist, John Stoltenberg, who became her life-partner.

Through the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, Dworkin was a tireless advocate for women’s equality, and especially for the dignity of women who had suffered rape and domestic violence. She lent a listening ear to thousands of women from all walks of life who had survived rape, at a time when victims were still nearly completely voiceless, and in her speeches and books, she created a vocabulary for the anger and the needs of survivors. A survivor of prostitution herself, she regarded prostitution and pornography as extensions of rape, a view which has made her unpopular to this day in the political left from which she came.

In the 1980s, she partnered with lawyer Catharine A. Mackinnon, the pioneer of sexual-harassment law, to campaign to define pornography as a civil-rights violation. Under their draft statute, pornographers could be sued by people harmed in the making and use of pornography, as well as in violent crimes in which consuming pornography was a factor. Based on this, to this day, many incorrectly accuse Dworkin of advocating “censorship”.

In 2000, she published a short account of her rape in Paris in the New Statesman, which included several paragraphs drawn from “My Suicide”, a longer work from which AFTERMATH is abridged. The work remained unknown, except to Dworkin herself, until after her death. The New Statesman article ignited a backlash from opponents, and embarrassment from some supporters. Dworkin withdrew completely from public life for two years. Though in deteriorating health, she returned to work for one more book and a few articles, before she died in 2005 from acute myocarditis.


About Adam Thorburn

Adam Thorburn is an award-winning playwright and freelance writer.  He received his MFA in Theater from Sarah Lawrence College. 

Thorburn adapted and directed Freed Speech, a staged reading of testimony taken from the first public hearings on pornography and civil rights documented in the book In Harm’s Way: the Pornography Civil Rights Hearings edited by Andrea Dworkin and Catharine A. MacKinnon. Freed Speech was performed at the New School for Social Research (1998).

Thorburn was commissioned by the Citizen’s Housing and Planning Council in New York City to create the play Stuyvesant Town: This Is Your Home. Using primary source documents, Stuyvesant Town told the story of the fight to desegregate the New York housing complex in the 1940s and 50s. Stuyvesant Town was performed at the Pershing Square Signature Center (2012). 

Thorburn’s prize-winning play November Spawned a Monster is available through the TADA! Youth Theater script catalogue.  Thorburn’s critical essays have appeared in Gay Community News, The Humanist, and Polari Magazine.


About Helena Levitt

Helena Levitt is a graduate of The Dome Professional Theatre Program in Montreal. She has been performing for the last few years with d2 Productions, as Debora in Late Company by Jordan Tannahill, Linda in Within The Glass by Anna Chatterton, Iris in The Gravitational Pull of Bernice Trimble by Beth Graham and Felicity in The Shadow Box by Michael Cristofer.

Prior to that, Helena played Andrea Dworkin in AFTERMATH. Other selected stage productions include Motherhood Out Loud with Fusebox Productions, Pool (No Water) with Theatre of The Black Butterfly, and Absurd Person Singular with Griffintown Theatre.


About Tracey Houston & Rob Langford

Tracey Houston and Rob Langford have been directing, designing, discussing, and dissecting theatre and film together since they graduated from Concordia’s theatre program in 1994.

Tracey designed all of Waterworks’ projects, and made her directorial debut with 2014’s Glory Dazed (Cat Jones). She also wrote the audio drama thriller Genius (www.genius-podcast.com) along with numerous film and television scripts.

Rob directed The Waterworks Company’s productions of Palace of the End (Judith Thompson) and Gidion’s Knot (Johnna Adams), as well as numerous Fringe and independent productions.


About James Douglas

A part of the Montreal Theatre scene for many years, James Douglas has worked as a lighting designer, technical director, photographer and stage manager with many Montreal companies, including Geordie Productions, the Black Theatre Workshop, Mainline, Repercussion Theatre, and as technical director and actor/director with Teesri Duniya Theatre of which he is now a board member.

James was lighting designer and stage manager with the original and touring production of AFTERMATH. He is proud to work with this important, personal and powerful piece of writing from one of the most influential writers of our time.