A History of Falling Things
by James Graham
Director Nicole Buffoni
July 13 to August 20
Photos by Phil Erbacher
When I first saw an entire house being transported on a semi-trailer, I thought it was an agoraphobic going on holidays. Boom-boom.
But are the two people in A History of Falling Things, currently playing at the Ensemble Theatre, agoraphobics or do they possess a more complex psychological condition?
The two principals, Robin and Jacqui, each experience keraunothnetophobia, the fear of objects falling from the sky, so they rarely venture outdoors. Robin even spends much of his time under a table.
They meet online and carry on a relationship without actually meeting one another in person. It’s like a modern version of 84 Charing Cross Road, in which a long-term relationship is conducted via the medium of letters through the postage network.
In A History of Falling Things, the communications are executed via laptop computers and when physical items are exchanged, Jimmy, the courier (Sam O’Sullivan) comes into play.
James Graham’s enthralling script makes for an engaging theatrical experience, and Eric Beecroft as Robin and Sophie Hensser in the role of Jacqui are perfectly cast. Their vulnerability, fear and hesitation come from within, and we, as part of the audience can identify, at some level, with their reticence. While we feel slightly superior to them, at the same time we empathise.
Will their fondness for each other override their fear of objects falling from the sky?
Will their desire for eventual physical connection compel them to dare to leave the safety of their homes?
While we’re thinking, “Just do it!”, something in us still feels their concern.