“When people die, they move from the first person to the third person. They also move from the present tense to the past tense.” These words are spoken by Christine (Kendra Thulin), who opens Simon Stephens’s Light Falls, directed by Robin Witt, by narrating her own death—sudden, solitary, and mundane in a liquor store in the north of England in the act of lapsing from nine months of sobriety—in exquisite detail. These words are also spoken about Christine, who in their speaking transforms from an anxious overdressed impolite alcoholic to a form of omniscience, a type of weather, and an actor under a special speaking a monologue on a stage set with armoires and lamps and curling leaves of sheet music suspended from the walls and in the air (designed by Sotirios Livaditis). “Time does not move forward . . . Everything we have ever done we are doing now” applies as well to the general dimension of our existence as it does to addiction.
Light FallsThrough 8/14: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 3 PM; audio description and touch tour Sun 7/24, open captioning Sun 7/31, Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont, 773-975-8150, steeptheatre.com, $30 general admission ($40 reserved, $10 access tickets)
In the long moment of her death, her family is scattered in mind and space, getting and rejecting other loves. Her daughter Jess (Stephanie Mattos) wakes from a blackout drunk night next to Michael (Nate Faust), a man she does not yet know. Her husband, Bernard (Peter Moore), is embroiled in an infidelity no one seems to enjoy, symbolically buttressed by the awkward consumption of excessive amounts of food. Her son, Steven (Brandon Rivera), is flunking his law degree and clinging to his dashing and immensely understanding boyfriend, Andy (Omer Abbas Salem). And her other daughter, Ashe (Ashlyn Lozano), is recovering from a suicide attempt and a relationship with another addict, Joe (Debo Balogun), deadbeat dad to her son Leighon.
Light Falls, on the imperfection of the living and the idealization of the dead, is rambling, sentimental, and laden with wish fulfillment: our desire to love our mothers, our desire, despite our worst failures, to be loved, and our desire to speak with those who have departed. In the role of Ashe, Lozano is especially effective, a living conduit of a grief others lack the courage to express.
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