By Joan Alperin Schwartz
'Falling' written by Deanna Jent, the Artistic Director of Mustard Seed Theatre in St. Louis, Missouri, asks the question...How do you love someone who is hard to love?
In this case, that someone is a 18 year old, autistic boy, named Josh (Matt Little) Josh is not only autistic, but he is violent. If his routine is upset in any way, Josh will flip out....Smashing furniture, hitting his mother or roughly pulling her hair, is the norm.
Despite the fact that Josh is dangerous, his mother, Tami (Amma Khaja) and father, Bill (Matthew Elkins) cater to his every whim....From the moment they wake up, till they go to bed, everything they do is to serve Josh. Their lives are built around Josh's routine.
It's bad enough that Tami and Bill's relationship is being destroyed by their son, but they have sacrificed their younger daughter, Lisa's (Tara Windley) happiness and more importantly, her safety, by allowing Josh to live at home.
When Josh and Lisa's grandmother, (Karen Landry) comes to visit, the boy's routine is interrupted and we get to see just how dangerous he is.
When the play, which is only 90 minutes long ended, I found myself feeling extremely angry...I wanted to scream at Tami and Bill for putting up with Josh's abuse and for causing their daughter so much pain and fear.
When I asked the playwright, who is the mother of an autistic teenager, during the Q & A, how parents could care for one child at the expense of the other, she really didn't have an answer...Because when it comes to a mother or father's love of a child, there aren't any simple answers.
And that's what makes, 'Falling' such a complex, thought-provoking piece. It doesn't give you easy answers.
The play is directed with great sensitivity by Elina de Santos and the cast, on the night I was in the audience, received a well deserved standing ovation.
'Falling' is presented by Rogue Machine Theatre Company located at...5041 Pico Blvd, Los Angeles
The play opened Saturday October 12, 2013 and runs...Fridays and Saturdays 8pm and Sundays at 3pm with the last performance, December 1, 2013
'Speaker Series' October 13 - November 10 after Sunday Performances and Autistic musicians will provide pre-show music.
RESERVATIONS: 1-855-585-5185 or www.roguemachinetheatre.com.