by Lorie Lewis Ham
FPU seems to pick plays that make you think-which is something I really like. This fall’s play, Falling, does just that.
Falling was written by Deanna Jent and first produced in 2011. It is inspired by her own experiences as the mother of an autistic son. Tami Martin, played by Kathryn Fleener who was recently seen on stage at the Selma Arts Center in Bring It On, is the mother of an autistic son named Joshua (Parker Lewis) who is now 18. As he has become older Josh has also become violent, which has made it hard to keep a caregiver, and made it very hard for Josh’s entire family. Josh’s father Bill is played by Robbie Hill, who was in FPU’s production of Guys and Dolls earlier this year. His teenage sister Lisa is played by Madison Alley who is new to the FPU stage, and his Grammy Sue is played by Allison Calhoun, who has appeared in several plays at FPU. Parker has also appeared in other FPU shows and staged readings.
In this play, we get to see first hand the many difficulties that every member of the family faces in trying to deal with Josh, and also the tremendous love they have for him. Bill and Tami’s marriage is suffering; Tami finds it hard to do anything other than care for Josh and is torn about whether he would be better off in a home or with them; Lisa finds it hard to just be a kid; Grammy Sue at first thinks everything can be solved just by praying, but during her visit learns how difficult the situation really is. As a mother myself, I can imagine what a difficult situation it must be to know you really can’t care for your son anymore, but not wanting him to be somewhere other than home with you.
Parker does an amazing job of portraying this complex character in a way that is genuine and realistic. The rest of the cast also does a great job of bringing their individual perspectives in this story to life.
This isn’t a show that leaves you with a light heart, or provides any easy answers to the problem—but instead it’s a show that gives you honest insight into what someone with an autistic child may go through and I think it is a show everyone should see. Cast and crew did such a wonderful job!
Falling is on stage for one more weekend closing on November 17. It performs in North Hall 123 (Seminary Chapel) on the main FPU campus, 1717 S. Chestnut Ave., Fresno. Tickets are $5-12, available online at fall-mainstage.eventbrite.com.
Our review of Picasso at the Lapin Agile currently on stage at COS in Visalia is also up tonight!
If you love local theatre, be sure to check out our new Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast, which features mysteries read by local actors. The first 8 episodes are now up! You can check the podcast out on iTunes and Google Play, and also on podbean. Also check out our other theatre articles and reviews in our Arts and Entertainment section.