Love is Love is Love in 'Next Fall'
Lachlan Sands | On 05, Aug 2016
In the lead up to the proposed national plebiscite on marriage equality, certain religious organisations are becoming increasingly vocal opponents of the move. However, Metro Arts’ staging of ‘Next Fall’ is a bold, timely reminder that whatever your faith, whatever you believe in, love is love is love.
The play originally premiered on Broadway in 2009, and was nominated for Best Play at the 2010 Tony Awards – for good reason, as it turns out. Written by Geoffrey Nauffts, it unfolds as a series of vignettes exploring the life of a gay couple (Luke, a devout Christian, and Adam, an atheist) and centred around the aftermath of a devastating accident. It examines issues like ageing and uncertainty about the future, the way religion is used in times of crisis and the hostility that many in the LGBT+ community have towards religion with a clear, steady eye. While the script sometimes relies on overly broad characterisations that often function as a shortcut to generating dramatic conflict, for the most part it is a nuanced, complex piece about the role of faith in our modern world.
It is competently staged here in Brisbane by Metro Arts, playing a limited engagement. While the set design, sound and lighting are all necessarily constrained by budget, one can’t help sometimes feeling lost in the play’s timeline, as the nondescript sets all begin to blur. In contrast, the cast’s performances are notable for their variance. Despite early opening night nerves, most of the performers grow into their confident, naturalistic roles. While there are some uneven American accents, and a tendency to confuse emotion with volume on the part of the actor playing Adam (doing his best Nathan Lane impression), for the most part the cast exhibit admirable restraint and let the words be the star. And what powerful words they are.
On opening night, the audience was filled with a bunch of sixteen-year-olds on a school drama trip. Despite their youth and relatively mature content of the play, they hung off every word. A reference to Matthew Shepard, killed in an infamous homophobic attack in 1998, elicits a several gasps and a poignant silence. A scene where Adam is denied access to Luke’s bedside because he isn’t considered family is heartbreaking in its mirroring of real life, and the memory of the Orlando attacks sits like a cloud over the second act. But sitting in a crowd of teenagers, who saw nothing strange in the fact that the lovers in the play were two men, is the hope for the future that those in the LGBT+ community desperately need right now.
When 4-6 August
Where Studio, Metro Arts – 109 Edward St
How Much $15-30
More Information Purchase tickets here