imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Subscribe Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news



CopWatch LA


A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Diversionary's "Next Fall": Fun and Thought-Provoking

by Mark Gabrish Conlan/Zenger's Newsmagazine Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012 at 7:08 PM (619) 688-1886 P. O. Box 50134, San Diego, CA 92165

"Next Fall," playing through March 25 at Diversionary Theatre in University Heights, San Diego, is a sometimes funny, sometimes wrenching, sometimes thought-provoking play in which an auto accident involving one member of a Gay male couple provokes confrontations between his partner and his blood family and triggers a series of flashbacks highlighting the conflict of faith between the victim, a devout born-again Christian, and his non-believing lover.

Diversionary's "...
kjp_lukeadam2.a.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x557

Diversionary’s Next Fall: Fun and Thought-Provoking


Copyright © 2012 by Mark Gabrish Conlan for Zenger’s Newsmagazine • All rights reserved

PHOTO: Matt McGrath and Stewart Calhoun in Next Fall. (Photo by Ken Jacques; courtesy Diversionary Theatre.)

“What do you believe?” asks a large piece of white paper hung in the lobby of Diversionary Theatre, 4545 Park Boulevard in University Heights, with a wide variety of names of religious denominations or schools of thought so both believers and non-believers can write their answers to the question near the appropriate label. It’s an interesting way to present their current production, Geoffrey Nauffts’ Next Fall, a comedy-drama in which a life-threatening injury to one of the characters brings together almost all the important people in his life, and a series of flashbacks shows the burgeoning relationship between Adam (Matt McGrath) and Luke (Stewart Calhoun) and how, despite what would seem to be an insurmountable difference of faith, it lasted four years and was almost literally “till death do us part.”

As the play opens, Nauffts introduces us to the characters in Luke’s families, both biological and chosen: his friend Brandon (Tony Houck), whose function in the story doesn’t become clear until midway through the second act; Holly (Jacque Wilke), his employer and essentially his mother confessor; his talk-a-minute mother Arlene (Shana Wride), who seems to have wandered in from one of Carol Burnett’s or Leslie Jordan’s Southern-fried parodies; his overbearing father Butch (John Whitley); and, eventually, Adam. Nauffts’ script requires almost cinematic changes between past and present — between the grim reality that the characters have been brought together by Luke’s near-death in an auto crash and the lighthearted reminiscences of his and Adam’s past — vividly executed by director James Vasquez and set designer Matt Scott, even though the swinging panels require the actors themselves to be their own stagehands for many of the scene changes.

We soon learn that, as well as they got along in virtually every other conceivable respect, there was one unbridgeable gap between Adam and Luke that never got resolved. Adam was raised in a non-religious household and, while he isn’t actively anti-religious, he never had any particular use for, or interest in, faith or spiritual matters in general. Luke is not only a born-and-raised Christian, he’s had his own born-again experience and he believes in the entire evangelical package, from salvation by faith alone (he and Adam get into an argument over whether Matthew Shepard’s murderers can ever be redeemed) to the literal truth of the Rapture. (Adam jokes that the thought of an airline pilot being whisked out of the cockpit and transported to heaven in mid-flight makes him even more scared of flying than he ever was before.) Adam picks up on this the first time he and Luke have sex — when he notices Luke praying for forgiveness afterwards.

Luke found his own personal salvation long after his father and mother broke up and dad raised him as a single parent until he remarried — Luke’s stepmother remains off-stage and is the only member of his family we don’t meet, or even learn much about. His accident brings his dad and his biological mother back together and just reawakens the tensions that split them apart in the first place. They’re as one, though, in their reflexive condemnation of homosexuality and refusal to believe that their son could be one of those people.

Next Fall is a play full of hidden depths, and it’s a testament to Nauffts’ skill as a playwright that his script manages to be emotionally, morally and spiritually complex without getting preachy. Plot-wise it has some similarities to the film Latter Days — also about the unlikely love affair between a non-religious man and a born-and-raised believer in a homophobic religion — but Next Fall is richer because it treats the parents with love and sympathy instead of presenting them as campy caricatures. For a Queer theatergoer of a certain age, it’s nice to see a play that opens with a Gay man in a hospital for reasons that have nothing to do with AIDS — indeed, Nauffts kids that when he has Adam ask Luke if he remembers the height of the AIDS terror, and Luke calmly fires back, “I was eight” — and it’s also welcome, if somewhat perplexing, that whatever Luke’s issues with his family are, the prospect of them clapping him into a “reparative therapy” center to try to burn or brainwash the Gay out of him isn’t one of them.

Even the title — Luke’s response when Adam pushes him to come out to his parents — is a subtle allusion to the truth that we make plans for the future and often put off distasteful tasks, only sometimes fate throws us a curveball and there isn’t going to be a “next fall” for us at all. Next Fall is a cannily written play, the potential grimness of its subject matter relieved by a sly wit, and even when Nauffts wants to get on a Queer-rights soapbox he figures out a way to do it without hammering home the point. When Luke’s parents are allowed to enter his room during a critical point in his care and Adam is told, “Family only,” we feel the anguish as he turns away in sadness in a far deeper and more moving way than we would have if Nauffts had had him get angry and make an “I’m ‘family,’ damn it!” speech.

For the most part, Diversionary has treated this jewel box of a play well, though there’s a rather odd flaw in the production. Matt McGrath (coming to this production from a far different role, Dr. Frank N. Furter in the Old Globe’s production of The Rocky Horror Show) and Stewart Calhoun are both first-rate actors, and as individuals they’re well cast in their roles — though McGrath is too young-looking to be believable as the anxiety-ridden 40-year-old he’s supposed to be playing. But the chemistry between him and Calhoun seems a bit “off.” It’s not that they’re not credible as a couple, but they make what divides them seem a lot more believable than what unites them.

Other than that, though, Diversionary’s production of Next Fall is well cast. John Whitley’s Butch stands out; like Nauffts’ script, the actor’s reading keeps the character from becoming caricature and makes us understand and even sympathize with him. Shana Wride’s Arlene is effective and fun in what amounts to a 1930’s-Hollywood style comic-relief role. Jacque Wilke’s Holly is credible as a good-buddy to the dysfunctional family-by-choice she has (or had) working for her, and the height of her performance is reached when she dead-pans, “Can fag-hags get to Heaven?” Tony Houck’s Brandon has little to do throughout the play until the big scene that lets us know who he is, what he wants, how he’s accommodated his beliefs and his desires and what that’s cost him, which Houck nails.

Other than the actors, the star of Next Fall is Matt Scott’s set (Diversionary artistic director Bret Young and Dangerfield G. Moore get co-credit with Scott for “scenic construction”), which director James Vasquez uses effectively to keep the action flowing smoothly from present to past and back. Sound designer Kevin Anthenill, a Diversionary regular, has considerably less to do than he’s had on some recent productions (on Edward II he actually got to provide an original score!) but he’s managed to dig up some appropriately atrocious dance records. Michelle Caron’s lighting subtly communicates the shifting places and times, and Shirley Pierson’s costumes — which practically had to be breakaway, given how fast the time changes — are appropriate (and the fact that we get to see both Matt McGrath and Stewart Calhoun in their underwear a lot adds to the aesthetic appeal of this show!).

Next Fall is the latest in a quite remarkable run of Diversionary productions. It’s the sort of script they do well: the Queer content is at the heart of the play but it’s not didactic, and director Vasquez, his cast and crew are in tune with the play’s subtlety and make it well worth seeing.

Next Fall plays through March 25 at Diversionary Theatre, 4545 Park Boulevard in University Heights. Performances are 8 p.m. Thurs.-Sat., 2 and 7 p.m. on Sun. General admission $31 Thurs. & Sun., $33 Fri. & Sat. For tickets or more information, call (619) 220-0097 or visit on the Web.

Report this post as:

Local News

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

Last of California's nuclear power plants is on its way out J30 3:44PM

Patrisse Khan-Cullors explains why Black Lives Matter J26 7:02PM

Women's March L.A., 2018 J24 4:39PM

The case for US government sanctions on Israel J23 5:36PM

 Women of LA Rise Again to Denounce Trump Photoset 4 J22 9:07PM

Women of LA Rise Again to Denounce Trump Photoset 3 J22 8:24PM

Women of LA Rise Again to Denounce Trump PhotoSet 2 J22 7:36PM

Women of LA Rise Again to Denounce Trump PhotoSet 1 J22 7:14PM

Women's Political Representation & Electoral Reform J21 12:43PM

Trial Starts for Woman with Erb’s Palsy Punched in Face Repeatedly by LAPD Officers J10 1:38PM

Dear District Attorney Jackie Lacey, Prosecute Killer Cops, Signed: Your Constituents J09 10:09PM

Great solidarity action today J06 10:22PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Paraphysique de domination/scotomisation M21 2:51AM

legal blog - police surveillance M20 4:25PM

FBI Tracked Activists Involved With Black Lives Matter as They Travelled Across the U.S. M20 12:10PM

Important report on fbi atrocities M20 12:56AM

Questions for TSA after reports of laptop and phone searches on domestic flights M20 12:31AM

No, Robert Mueller And James Comey Aren’t Heroes M19 7:02PM

Baltimore cops and the rotten core of policing M19 5:08PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Six Months After Maria, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands Wait for Relief M19 12:37PM

Trump - Hard as Steel M19 6:57AM

Paraphysique de l'hologramme M19 1:44AM

Fbi crimes and cover-up by local authorities M19 1:29AM

what does a mexican driver's license look like? M18 12:10PM

One Way to Respond to Foreign Ops in Our Elections M18 11:54AM

Stratégie onirique du coup du monde M17 3:03AM

Tour Announcement: Whole Milk's California Cruising Tour 2018 M16 8:41PM

50 years have passed since the Kerner & McCone Commissions M16 6:21PM

Crash on the Horizon M16 9:45AM

Caribbean Religious Leaders Call for Debt Relief in Face of Disasters M16 7:28AM

America's judiciary is in collapse M15 8:53PM

Under the Gun in Ireland M15 5:37PM

The Shortwave Report 03/16/18 Listen Globally! M15 4:54PM

Travail de l'idéologie M15 12:02AM

Crisis 2.0: A Policy for the 99% M14 2:06AM

How fbi corrupts cjs M13 8:10PM

When Will the Me Too Movement Take on the New Age? M13 8:21AM

La société du plagiat compilateur M13 12:34AM

12 Step Programs Free Me From Addiction M11 1:53PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy