“I will catch you”
Reviewer: Lee Min Jie
Performance: 13 May 2016
The reason why you should catch “Falling”: the authenticity and accuracy in which it captures the reality of a family living with an 18-year-old severely autistic child.
The interior of an apartment is meticulously recreated. Like our homes, every nook and cranny tells a story. The secret cabinet where the father stores his alcohol. The sacrosanct calendar hanging on the wall. The lonesome string that connects to a box full of feathers. Each of them carries a secret only its inhabitants are privy too.
Simple everyday affairs turn into a gargantuan task that requires commitment from the entire family. To get Josh to leave for school, a ritual must be performed. Seemingly commonplace occurrences can potentially spark off Josh’s violent meltdown. Loud noises from a juice blender or the stray dog barking are no-nos. To combat such situations, the family invests in noise-cancelling earphones for Josh and adopts counting down with their fingers in front of him to indicate all-clear.
Living under such stressful conditions inevitably strains family ties and the cast captures this balancing act perfectly. Adrian Pang and Tan Kheng Hua once again prove themselves veterans by effortlessly delivering strong yet nuanced versions of Bill and Tami. Tan especially shines in fleshing out the inner turmoil of a helpless and hapless mother who is at once resilient yet vulnerable.
Andrew Marko is careful and convincing in his portrayal of Josh. Marko immerses Josh in a world where he is oblivious to his surroundings. His tics and twitches are not up to him and consideration is not a concept he understands. He cannot help but strike at his mother. He cannot help but touch himself when he wants to regardless of where he is.
Neo Swee Lin’s Nana is a delight to watch. She never fails to make me laugh with her impeccable comic timing. Especially when she is oblivious to the religious double entendre or when she forgets the code words and hilarity ensues.
The random song sequences bewilder me though. Its presentation is suggestive of it happening in an alternate reality. I can only suspect it represents the unfulfilled dreams and scarifies of the family. Perhaps if Josh was normal, the family will form a rock band?
In a bid to share more about autism, post-show dialogues accompany every show. A rare opportunity to ask or just hear more about autism in Singapore. Do stay if you have the time, the individuals who stand behind the mic on and off stage often have responses that will shape your perspectives.
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ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
FALLING by Pangdemonium
13 May – 5 June 2016
KC Arts Centre
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Lee Min Jie is a third-year Theatre Studies major at the National University of Singapore who is drawn to Theatre’s ability to immerse one in a world carefully conjured up by artists.