"After Us," which opened last night at the Circle Rep Theater, at 99 Seventh Avenue South, near Christopher Street, will serve as a memorial for its cast.
The seven women in the cast are drug and alcohol abusers in various stages of recovery. They are also H.I.V. positive or have AIDS. They are joined by five of their children, who range in age from 6 to 14, all of whom have tested negative for H.I.V.
The cast is "really nervous and excited," said VALERIE McELWAINE, the director of the show, which runs through Sunday. The adult actors are all in a "harm reduction" program for addicts at Housing Works, an organization that provides housing, support services and advocacy for homeless men, women and children with AIDS and H.I.V. "The show is a way for the mothers to say goodbye to their children."
Ms. McElwaine, who has directed classical dramas at regional theaters as well as three other shows in the last year with Housing Works' clients. "It's difficult because we have active users and a lot of death around us," she said. "These are brave and strong women, and they are incredible mothers. Their children are warm and loving, and it's a testament to them."