When words escape you
Sacramento, CA 95814
Doesn’t life ultimately come down to communication? Words, syntax, context—get it right and you’re golden. But in Dad’s (David Kramer) golden years, words don’t merely escape him; they increasingly, tauntingly elude him. A man who used words—poetry, in fact—to provide a comfortable life for his family now has aphasia, a disease that impairs one’s ability to use and understand language. Dad now grits his teeth, rasping out “… the … thing!” for that moment’s elusive word.
Just when his Son (Kurt Johnson) finds himself emotionally able to try to mend their distant relationship, he discovers it may be too late. Their chilly father-son state (complicated by Son’s own disconnect with his teenaged boy) suddenly goes topsy-turvy, to the dismay of both.
Water Falling Down, which is receiving its American premiere at B Street Theatre, is Australian playwright Mark Swivel’s wry reflection on what it means to be a man and what it takes to tackle the roles of father, son, equal. Under David Pierini’s sure direction and boasting two strong performances, B Street gives the play (the title is Dad’s poetically descriptive way of conveying the word “rain”) a satisfying if sometimes studied staging.
Ian Wallace’s minimalistic design, Ron Madonia’s effective lighting and Jason Kuykendall’s inventive projections add a physical energy to what is essentially an episodic reverie, a journey through two men’s struggle to communicate and connect, based on the playwright’s own experience with his widowed father.
Water Falling Down is an affecting piece of theater, poised, like life, between comedy and tragedy, hope and fear, discovery and loss. And in the end, “water falling down” doesn’t necessarily mean “rain.” It could signal “tears.”