His friend. His partner. His parents. Four people, brought together in a hospital waiting room when Luke is involved in an accident that will cause them to question some of their deepest held beliefs.
So begins Next Fall by Geoffrey Nauffts, a romantic drama for our times, showing the five year relationship of Luke (Mark Davis) and Adam (Darrin Redgate), a relationship fraught with complications; Luke believes in God. Adam believes in Google. As far as Luke’s somewhat conservative parents are concerned, Adam is just his room-mate.
Exposition is always difficult; there’s a fine line between keeping the audience entirely ignorant, relying on them to be smart enough to figure everything out themselves, and characters just telling each other what they already know. In that respect, Next Fall really falls into the slice-of-life, with the characters behaving very much like actual people. No one is saying anything like, “Wow, Adam, to think that you have been in a relationship with Luke for five years, and that I am your friend Holly. Those are his parents, by-the-way.”
Indeed, it’s this reality that makes the narrative trend of “parents-dealing-with-son-being-gay” not so a cliché; because of the situations organic development, and the relate-ability of the characters and their experience. I found Butch (the father, played by Paul Robertson) to be the most authentic, and the plays intertwining stories of Adam seeking acceptance of his relationship, combined with Butch’s difficultly understanding his son captivating.
My initial confusion in the first twenty minutes of the play – due to its slice-of-life nature – actually made the rest of the performance more satisfying, less obvious actors with a problem to overcome, and more real people who are dealing with the complexities of life. The three act structure is great, but its absence meant a greater deal of realism.
Next Fall is showing at Chapel off Chapel from 12th to 30th of July. Tickets can be purchased here.