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The Fall by EmpathEyes at the Acklam Village Market

The Fall Rehearsals
The Fall Rehearsals

When hope is lost leading to a dismal future, it is easy to give up on joy. Through the eyes of a child’s innocence with the magic of onscreen visuals and heroic stories, reality meets fantasy in the EmpathEye’s production of The Fall.

The theatrical re-imaging of Tarsem Singh’s film The Fall is a captivating story about a man who attempted suicide and befriends a little girl in a hospital. Hopeless about life, Ray (Robert Rowe) begins to tell Alexandria (Keira Jozana) stories about vibrant heroes and hopes to trick her into sneaking out painkillers from the nurse’s cabinet for him. Through storytelling, projected animations and remarkable live music, The Fall brings to life a hopeful tale about the goodness in life.

Taking a two-hour film and condensing the story into a 40-minute script can be a challenge, and this play’s execution of that challenge was not completely successful. Most importantly, the characters and their relationships were not well established. Without reading the program, it would not have been clear that Roy attempted suicide and his intentions early on were to get Alexandria to bring him painkillers. Also, the pace and time given to each story were so quick that it was difficult to follow the stories as they cut in and out of fantasy. The characters needed more development both in reality and within the fictional stories.

As a result of the monotonous script, Rowe brought no genuine emotion to his character on stage. He sat motionless in his hospital bed and rarely physically interacted with the little girl onscreen. As if to be a chameleon attempting to blend in with the white screen, Rowe’s monotone storytelling disappeared as we focused more on the animated visuals.

The spirit of the entire production was captured by the beautiful animations and the live music. The animations were intriguing to watch through different styles and themes. To help to clarify the stories, it would have been great to see that each narrative have its own animation style. The four different animators – Freddee S Lewis, Andreea Stan, Diana Garcia and Cecilia Lu – had unique designs, and it was lovely seeing Alexandria transition into the fictional story and Ray taking a letter out of the screen into reality. Alongside the animation, the live music composed by Max Wilson, performed by himself, Ruth Wilson, Fifi, Rafael Bolivar and Imogen Lewis, moved and guided the mood of the play. The music was truly absorbing and enchanting as it led the emotion behind the entire production.

The epic theatrical production The Fall takes audiences on a visually stunning journey through storytelling, visualisation, and an inspiring composition. When all hope is lost The Fall reminds us of the joys of the vast unknown future.

3 Star Review

Review by Aly Chromy

The Fall is a breathtaking one-hour visual spectacle which blends theatre with original animations, live music and projection to unfold a story about one man’s struggle with depression and his unusual path to hope. This play is a new adaptation by EmpathEyes, inspired by Tarsem Singh’s 2006 film, also entitled The Fall.

After a failed suicide attempt, a bedridden man tricks a young girl in the hospital to bring him painkillers with
the intention of overdosing. He manipulates her attention by telling vibrant stories about the journeys of 5
heroes (represented by ever-changing animation on a screen behind him). As the young girl becomes attached
to these characters, the man finds himself inspired by her goodwill and innocence. Yet he finds his cynicism
and dejectedness seeping into his storytelling – the fate of the heroes kept hostage by his increasingly
despondent mind-set.

Alongside the show there will be an exhibition on ‘Depression and Hope’ which follows the emotional journey
of the play, starting with the beginnings of a mental illness, the experience when in the depths of psychosis
and the emergence of hope.

The Fall
Acklam Village Market
Portobello Road
London W10 5TY
20-minute expedition, 40 minute run time

Director Tarzan Tahsin
Composer and Performer Max Wilson
Film Director Sandeep Gill
Performance Dates March 17th 2017 – March 19th 2017, 7pm and 9pm
Running Time 60 mins
Acklam Village Market, 4-8 Acklam Road, Portobelllo, London W10 5TY

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