Wednesday, June 12, 2013

"Before A Fall" at the Hollywood Fringe Festival

Before a Fall is a play that tackles difficult subject matter, but easily pulls the audience into its layers, anxiously making you wait to see the storyline unfold.  Promoted as a "Southern Gothic tale of faith, family, and fear," Before a Fall by Lily Mercer is centered on a small Southern town and a family under the firm grip of Reverend Jack Hawkins, a controlling grandfather and patriarch of a church. 

The play is currently running at the Hudson Theatre, an intimate space that moves the audience through time and space as those on stand, witnesses at Darla's trial, give their testimonies.  We sit as likely jurors, able to see exchanges in the courthouse, the classroom, the church, and the land owned by Reverend Hawkins. 

The show has a strong ensemble cast that brings the story to life.  Hawkins is portrayed by Worth Howe, who deftly conveys the character's overbearing confidence as a town leader and a dark family figure - striking the right balance of conviction and creepiness.  In contrast to the Reverend are 18-year-old Darla Hawkins (Allie Costa) and six-year-old Lala Hawkins (Jamie McRae), whose scenes together are endearing, heightening the tragic circumstances of the narrative - Darla is on trial for murder, her grandfather suspected of molesting her.  Costa's portrayal of the sweet and withdrawn Darla Hawkins is the epitome of both tragedy and hope, while Laura Napoli's role as schoolteacher Bonnie Davidson casts light on the struggle to understand right and wrong, to uncover the truth and set it free.

Before a Fall is among the number of great events that are part of this year's Hollywood Fringe Festival, occurring June 13th-30th and I highly recommend it be on your list.  Before a Fall runs June 16th and June 23rd at 3:00PM and 7:00PM at the Hudson Theatre on Theatre Row. 

-Charity Tran

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