While at camp all manner of things happen--sex, an attempted suicide, a mother and child reunion, a lesson on how to do a good shim-sham--and in the end, while not all things are revealed in the world of Fall, they are, with missteps and off-rhythms, resolved. Life goes on in its soft-edged and bemusing way.
Ari Gaynor, as Lydia, the play's center, does the pouty "whatever" attitude of the modern Ur-adolescent very well, and she carries lightly the writer's heavy nostalgia for the beauty/beast qualities of fourteen-ness--what Gopal, the son of the family that owns the swing camp, describes as being "raw [and] full of doubt and wonder." As the beleaguered parents of a daughter who pushes their hot buttons like dialing phone numbers, Anne Scurria (Jill) and Dan Welch (Dog) lindy their way through the generational minefields, and it's a pleasure to watch their thickened and middle-aged bodies get lighter and delighted when the swing music kicks.
Ronobir Lahiri, as Gopal, has a nice way of following a deadpan with a beaming chaser of a smile, revealing a decent heart that, at bottom, feels affection (and no little pain) for everyone who comes through his dance classes. Mauro Hantman, as Jill and Dog's friend Jack Gonzales, has the least definition as a character, not because Hantman doesn't bring a charm to the role but more because the writer has made him into something of a charming villain with a touch of self-doubt; the dissonances do not quite work. Threading their way through the action as a kind Puck and Ariel are Brian Jones and Susan Boyce (Lead and Follow), who mainly serve as dancing stagehands, bringing props on and people off with a smile and a shoe shine.
The theatrics are inventive and tickling. The scuba scenes, complete with wetsuits and tanks, even have Lydia at one point being flown over the audience (engineered by Foy, of course) as she drifts through the soundless comforts of the ocean. Eugene Lee's wall of etched glass doors serves easily as home, swing camp, cliff-edge, classroom and ballroom. Yael Lubitzy's lighting of sea depths and glitter balls looks clean and smart, and Sharon Jenkins' choreography--which makes the non-dancers into credible pretenders--leaves everyone on stage looking agile.
This is not to say that the work is flawless. The episodic construction of Fall makes it difficult for any relationships to flower. Just as people reveal an intimacy or tread on darker ground, Lead & Follow come trucking through, and we're off doing another eight-count. Consequently, I found it difficult to establish empathy with the characters' stories.
Not always, of course. There is a heart-squeezing moment when Lydia describes watching a room of awkward, gallivanting adults and being amazed that they can be so open with their imperfections--something she wishes she could do to escape from her cage of cool. And Jack Gonzales' story about his mother's death, though almost too weird to be taken seriously, at least lets the play pause for a moment to catch its breath and give the audience a chance to settle in.