Ray Bradbury's "Falling Upward"
By Jose Ruiz

For fans of America’s best loved fantasy writer, it’s always a treat to see him in the lobby of the theatre, greeting patrons, signing autographs and later giving his now traditional pre-show talk where he gives a little background on his writing and on the particular play.

For this show, Ray Bradbury stated that when director John Huston asked him to go to Ireland to write the screen play for Moby Dick, after a year or so the country slowly seeped into his pores and has been one of his motivators for several plays.

Falling Upward is probably the keystone of his Irish plays, depicting life in the tiny village of Kilcock, County Kildare and specifically in Heeber Finn’s pub, where all the men gather after a hard days work to refresh their bodies with a pint or two of Ginness and their minds with a few stories and songs.

Our story guide is none other than Pat Harrington, who made Guido Panzini a household name back in the early days of the Tonight Show, and who in this play gives the character of Garrity a picaresque sense of humor.

Bradbury explores two major events in this story; the first brings a borderline coarse solution and the second is steeped in whimsical fantasy, Bradbury’s strong suite.
It seems that a wealthy citizen has passed on to a better life, leaving behind a veritable treasure of cases of fine vintage wine.  He also has stipulated in his will that the wine shall be buried with him, a fact that greatly disturbs the boyos in the pub.  Father Leary organizes the group in a frantic effort to prevent the wine from going to the grave.  It’s Heber Finn who comes up with the solution that the group should drink and enjoy ALL the wine and then at the right time return to the man’s tomb and have nature help them pour it all back into the grave.

(front) James Horan - Pat Harrington - Mik Scriba and ensemble 

Fairies or not, the entire play is filled with humorous touches and lots of music.  Many of the actors play instruments, sing and even dance a couple of numbers.  Not quite the Riverdance troupe, the effort is well appreciated however, as the huge cast takes the audience back to a different time and a different place to weave their tale.  Director Tim Byron Owen keeps the group and the action flowing as the story develops in a remarkably realistic bar set populated with actors who make you feel that no matter where you come from, for that evening you become a little bit Irish.
It’s an evening when one can forget the current travails of modern life and immerse the soul into a land that once was simple and time was never in a rush.
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Photos: Ed Krieger

The cast of “Falling Upward” includes Abbott Alexander, Atotesfaye Abdu-Hakim, Walter Beery, David Evans Brandt, Roger Cruz, Tom DeBone, Duffy Dugan, Donald E. Giddings, Austin Grehan, Matthew Hoffman, James Horan, Michael Gough, Michael Lagrinas,  Robert W. Laur, Peter Maloney, Tim Martin, Gavyn Michaels, Donald Moore, Ken O’Malley, Christian Reeve, Mik Scriba, and Philip Sokoloff.

Set design: Jeff Rack. Lighting design: Peter Strauss. Costume design: Kelly Fluker.  Assistant stage manager:/Assistant Director: Bill Murphy. Stage manager: Terri Roberts. Sound Design:  Reid Woodbury Jr.
WHEN: Runs through Sunday, April 5, 2009. Thurs.- Sat. at 8, Sun. at 3.
(Pre-show entertainment commences 20 minutes prior to official curtain time.)

ADMISSION: $30- $40
RESERVATIONS: (866) 811-4111, toll-free.

Shortly after that a strange group of tourists led a very proper English gentleman arrives, wanting to visit and learn about Ireland.  They   come from diverse and far away lands, wear tunics and dress in white, and succeed in arousing suspicions among the boys in the pub. 
It’s Garrity who convinces the group that these   strangers have much in common with them and the two groups begin to explore commonalities.  But soon the strangers leave as quickly and unexplainably as they arrived, and the speculation by some in the group is that they were Irish Fairies  from long ago who have revisited the land.