Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Monday, 12 September 2011 17:26

'Falling' is powerful and moving

Written by Steve Callahan
Rate this item
(0 votes)

The Details

mustardseedtheatre.com
mustardseedtheatre.com

Deanna Jent's wonderful new play, Falling, is having its premiere at the Mustard Seed Theatre—and it's the most powerful, moving new play I've seen in years. Luckily the fates are giving you another chance to see it: the run has been extended through September 18. You’ll not want to miss it.

I don't often gush about shows I've seen. But Falling is so out of the ordinary that I'm compelled to urge everyone I know to see it.

Falling shows us a family as it struggles to deal with autism. And Jent writes from her own family's experience. I admit that I went to see this play with some trepidation. Frankly I tend to avoid plays about diseases; they often tend to be opportunistic, sometimes maudlin or self-pitying, sometimes pushing some agenda. I tend to avoid plays about dysfunctional families; they're way too easy to write and they say little about the general human condition.

But in Falling Deanna Jent gives us a play which has none of those failings. I think I've never seen a play that so toweringly rose above my expectations. Falling is not a play about a disease; it's a compelling, gripping evening of real, intense drama—wonderfully leavened with moments of absolutely natural comedy. These are very real people we're watching.

The ensemble is superb. Michelle Hand (who has given us many fine performances) gives, I think, the best one of her career as the mother, who struggles with the massive responsibilities with which her son burdens her—deftly juggling love and fear. Greg Johnston, too, shows his personal very best as the father. Jonathan Foster is quite amazingly convincing as the severely autistic son; his authentic human need and frustration—and indeed his fragility—shine through his bizarre, compulsive behavior. Katie Donnelly as the daughter beautifully captures the resentment this girl has at the total domination her brother's condition has over the whole family. And Carmen Russell does a lovely job as the grandmother who wants to help, but whose nagging religiosity makes her simply an additional irritant.

There is a lovely shading of the darker and lighter emotions throughout. Moments of embarrassment, anger, frustration—even fear and panic—are touched with humor and irony as the parents gather their wits and their breaths after some incident. Sometimes such small flashes of humor are defensive; sometimes they’re almost like a quick embrace, reaffirming their relationship.

There’s also a shading of gently surrealistic touches against the unforgiving harsh reality of this family’s life. These are signs of a true sense of theatre.

Time and again we are impressed with the human ability to endure. Waiting for Godot is another play about bearing the unbearable. In it this exchange states the situation succinctly:

Estragon: I can't go on like this.
Vladimir: That's what you think.

Falling presents just this dilemma. Its final moment of gentle, surreal theatricality is truly inspired. We see this supremely stressed woman releasing herself into—into what? Perhaps into the grace of God. Perhaps simply into that sublimely limitless human capacity for resilience.

This play will go far. It certainly should go to the Humana Festival. I see it being widely produced all over the country. It's very, very good! And it's a most courageous exploration by a woman who knows.

You may learn more about this company at http://www.mustardseedtheatre.com

Additional Info

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr
KDHX Blog

Local Artist Spotlight


Tok Releases Gold Dollar Hen House Volume 3

Tue April 8
Tok is a Festus based rock band who has been rocking St. Louis for 20 years. They are due to release their third installment of their Gold Dollar Hen House collection on February 28, 2014 at Schlafly's…

KDHX Recommends

April
Saturday
19

Get Down To Business: Getting Booked Locally and Beyond

Ever wondered how to get that talent buyer to open your emails?  KDHX is here to help.   Join St. Louis promoters Steve Pohlman of Off Broadway, Brian McCormac of The Old Rock House, and Mike Cracciolo of The...


April
Tuesday
22

Tuesdays at KDHX Sessions: Worm-A-Rama

Tuesdays at KDHX Sessions presents Earth Day Worm-A-Rama with Jean Ponzi on Tuesday, April 22 at 7:30pm at The Stage. This visual-musical celebration of living on earth will feature musical guest, Augusta Bottoms Consort, tuneful...


April
Wednesday
23

Jimbo Mathus

KDHX welcomes Jimbo Mathus to Off Broadway on April 23th.   For more info, offbroadwaystl.com.


Get Answers!

If you have questions or need to contact KDHX, visit our answers portal at answers.kdhx.org.

Online Users

3 users and 5856 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook