Review | To Let Go And Fall: an affecting study of love and aging

Theater Latté Da, through June 30

Mark Benninghofen and André Shoals in TO LET GO AND FALL. Photo by Dan Norman

Cello music is, it has to be said, mournful, lugubrious and, well, a little creepy. “It’s not gloomy,” asserts the young son in A Little Night Music. “It’s profound.” IOW, ya gotta be in the mood and, luckily, at the opening performance of Latté Da‘s affecting To Let Go And Fall, I was.

The wonderfully somber music is composed and played by cellists Jacqueline Ultan and Michelle Kinney and it really makes To Let Go And Fall, a lovely study of love and aging.

Aging. At this point I have to air my main complaint: as a card-carrying Old Guy, I deeply resented the play’s suggestion that Arthur (the wonderful André Shoals) and Todd (Mark Benninghofen) are, at age 51, “old men.” End of complaint.

Harrison David Rivers‘s play gives us Arthur and Todd at three stages in their lives: age 16 (falling in love), 25 (hot and heavy) and 51 (“Gee, you look terrific.”). The scenes are a bit… predictable, but the near-constant cello music gives the proceedings rich emotional substance. The older men – Benninghofen and Shoals – anchor the play and the two actors are terrific. Love becoming deep friendship. Arthur makes an upsetting announcement: “I’m sick.” We assume that he is suffering from HIV, but the play is a tad coy about this. Still, it gives the relationship, and the play, power and intensity.

There is also a large pool of water on the stage and it leads to a final effect guaranteed to knock off your socks, and this is as much as I’m prepared to say.

To Let Go And Fall is a delicate and unusual play, well worth seeing.

John Olive is a writer living in Minneapolis. His book, Tell Me A Story In The Dark, about the magic of bedtime stories, has been published. John’s The Voice Of The Prairie has been performed 100 plus times and ditto Minnesota Moon and his adaptation of Sideways Stories From Wayside School. His The Summer Moon won a Kennedy Center Award For Drama. John has won fellowships from the Bush Foundation, The McKnight Foundation and from The National Endowment For The Arts. Please visit his informational website.

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