You gotta have faith

Next Fall

Next Fall, 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday; 8 p.m. Thursday, May 23; $15-$20. Resurrection Theatre at the Three Penny Playhouse in the California Stage complex, 1723 25th Street; (916) 223-9568; Through May 24.

California Stage

1723 25th St.
Sacramento, CA 95816

(916) 451-5822

Rated 4.0

Resurrection Theatre boasts a big advantage in the production of this tightly woven story about a relationship built on a basic philosophical conflict: It’s about as perfectly cast as it’s possible to get.

Geoffrey Nauffts’ Next Fall is the story of two men in love—Luke (Rob August), a gorgeous young actor who happens to be a devout, rapture-believing Christian, and Adam (Jon Jackson), an older, somewhat neurotic and nebbishy agnostic. That descriptor—“agnostic”—is chosen deliberately: While Adam finds belief unbelievable, he doesn’t completely discount the possibility. He does, however, have an incredibly sensitive hypocrisy detector, and it’s a source of discomfort for himself and others.

The play is the story of Luke and Adam’s relationship, told in flashbacks, while Adam waits with Luke’s father Butch (Jes Gonzales), mother Arleen (Shaleen Schmutzer-Smith), and friends Holly (Kellie Yvonne Raines) and Brandon (Casey Worthington) to see if Luke will survive a life-threatening accident.

Oh, and Luke’s Bible-believing parents? They don’t know he’s gay.

It’s a recipe for disaster, but Nauffts’ play doesn’t opt for easy hits. Instead, the characters struggle realistically with the ways in which faith—whether that’s faith in a god or faith in a lover—shape and create our lives. Directed by Benjamin T. Ismail, with a lovely set design by John Ewing, Next Fall never descends into pathos. It does, however, make clear that we don’t have to agree with each other in order to love—and respect—each other, and that’s a pretty hard mark to hit.