AFTER THE FALL by Arthur Miller, directed by Rod Ceballos, with Joseph Gallaccio, Lesley Faulkner, Jill Harland, Rose Ryan, Lara Berry, David Mackett and Kyle Horton. Equity Showcase (651 Dufferin). Runs to April 3, Thursday-Saturday 7 pm, matinee Sunday 2 pm. Pwyc. 416-533-6100 ext 52. Rating: NNN
Though decades separate the two Arthur Miller plays that opened last week (see review of The Ride Down Mt. Morgan, below), both deal with a self-centred man who has trouble coming to terms with himself and the women in his life. The semi-autobiographical After The Fall takes place in the mind and memory of Quentin, a lawyer trying to sort out his past and present. Characters wander in and out, conjured up, sometimes unwillingly, by Quentin's examination of actions whose rightness or wrongness he's trying to determine. Addressing an unseen listener, the guilt-ridden, proud, womanizing lawyer seeks explanations and possibly expiation for his life.
It's a big play, over three hours, and more than once Quentin comes off as an emotional and intellectual wanker. That's not a criticism of Joseph Gallaccio , who brings charm and energy to a character who's rarely offstage.
It's also a treacherous play to stage, for the multitude of players in Quentin's life can blur at first, and the leaps and collisions in time and space can be confusing. Director Rod Ceballos does a good job of making the connections in Quentin's mind as clear as possible.
The large cast, though, isn't equally strong. Standouts include Rose Ryan as the commanding mother Quentin sees as the source of his problems with women, Lara Berry as the flirtatious wife of a lawyer friend ( David Mackett ), and Kyle Horton as another lawyer who betrays his friends to the feds investigating the Communist menace.
Best of all - and that's important, since she and Gallaccio carry most of the second act - is Lesley Faulkner , Quentin's second wife, a switchboard operator who becomes a famous singer. Beginning as a ditsy figure of comic innocence and developing into a melodramatic but still sympathetic neurotic, Faulkner deploys the insecure Maggie's wide range of emotional shifts with succinct skill.