I got to see The Attic Ensemble’s “Next Fall” on its opening night last Friday and totally cried, haha. I didn’t bawl or anything, but I definitely teared.
It struck a chord with me especially because I am a born-again Christian and I can definitely relate to Luke’s pain knowing someone he loves continually rejects Jesus Christ. I felt more secure in my faith after watching the show and would like to grow closer with God.
It was my first trip to the Barrow Mansion and it was nice to finally meet George Seylaz and Judith Moss and of course, the mansion itself. I also got to catch up with Art Delo, whom I met while I was stage managing Art House Productions’s “Murder on Ice.”
At intermission, they had various cakes and coffee, tea, etc., all for a dollar. The banana pound cake was delicious! Overall, a lovely evening.
Strong performances in ‘Next Fall’ hit home
The Attic Ensemble’s production of “Next Fall” by Geoffrey Nauffts will make you cry. Or at least it might. It could, if you’re a crying sort of person.
The play, which premiered last Friday at the Barrow Mansion in Jersey City, takes on some heavy topics like religion, love, sexuality – and most of all – faith.
The Broadway hit revolves around a five-year romantic relationship between Luke (Timothy Ryan), a conservative Christian, and Adam (Paul Zeller), who is practically atheist. When Luke’s life is threatened by a grave accident, Adam must face Luke’s parents, ultra-conservative Butch (Jack Pignatello) and out-there Arlene (Ginger Kipps).
The six-actor cast fully embodied each of their respective characters, embracing both their best and worst qualities. Ryan and Zeller showed a wide range of emotion while staying consistent as a young man whose faith carries him through his struggles and as an older man who continually chooses to be unsatisfied.
While Ryan and Zeller have excellent chemistry in several compelling argument scenes, their happier, “lovey-dovey” scenes feel forced. Thankfully, each character’s emotional investment in the relationship is more believable. Ultimately, it’s Zeller’s performance and Adam’s emotional journey that carries the show and hits home.
Benjamin Holmes as Brandon proved the most interesting to watch. Although his character is the least pivotal to the plot, Holmes magnifies himself on stage with his perfect portrayal of a man quietly accepting the pain and discomfort inflicted upon him by external and internal forces.
While the performances have potential to capture audiences, it’s hard to completely get immersed in the show with several awkward scene changes – the kind where the lights go down, music plays and the audience politely pretends they can’t see the stagehands. Fortunately, great sound and light design cements each destination for the viewers.
Overall, “Next Fall” is a moving production with stand-out performances that asks questions about hot-button issues without being offensive or offering answers.
There is still time to see “Next Fall.” The show will run through Nov. 20. Shows will be held at The Barrow Mansion, 83 Wayne St., Jersey City, on Thursday at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets are $20, $15 for students and seniors. Group rates are available. For more information, visit AtticEnsemble.org.