Falling A Play About Autism's Less "Fundraiser-Worthy" Side
Posted Oct 01 2012 12:00am
Falling , written by Deanna Jent, is a play now running in New York, off Broadway. Autism, like many difficult topics in America, is often sanitized to the point of saccharine caricature. Not Falling, which brings the audience into a home with a severely autistic man - an 18 year old boy. Perhaps it's your home? (Photo Julia Murney and Daniel Everidge star in 'Falling,' now playing off-Broadway. / AP/David Gersten & Associates)
Here's part of the review from The Asbury Park Press by Bill Canacci: Sometimes
we need more than statistics to help us understand. That is
likely why Deanna Jent wrote “Falling,” a powerful new play about how a
couple copes with their 18-year-old autistic son.The
numbers tell one side of the story: One in 88 children have been
identified with an autism spectrum disorder. For boys, it’s 1 in 54.But
in 75 minutes, Jent gives audiences a glimpse of what families touched
by autism likely have to go through every day.
This sounds like a Lifetime movie, but don't be fooled. "Falling,"
which has practically crept into town from the Mustard Seed Theatre in
St. Louis, is an unflinching and unsanitized drama about family life
with a severely autistic 18-year-old boy.
Directed with enormous sensitivity and
edge by Lori Adams, Deanna Jent's exhausting, strangely exhilarating
new play deserves to be far more than a destination for autism
fundraising benefits and people with personal investment in that
Daniel Everidge feels real enough to
be scary as Josh, the huge, increasingly dangerous child-man whose
demands dominate the loving, frightened lives of his mother (Julia
Murney, in a rare and heartfelt break from musical theater), his father
(Daniel Pearce), his resentful teenage sister (Jacey Powers) and the
grandmother (Celia Howard) still clinging to her faith. A brief fantasy
scene is as shocking as it is expertly done.