· end of scene
· biography
· plays
· contact
· home
End Of Scene Blog Entries
SATURDAY, DEC 7, 2013
Ken makes a scene about why he wrote LIFE ON PAPER
FRIDAY, JUN 7, 2013
[EXCERPTED REVIEW] Broadway World makes a scene about Warrior Class at the Alley Theatre.
FRIDAY, JUN 7, 2013
[REVIEW] The Houston Press makes a scene about Warrior Class at the Alley Theatre.
SUNDAY, FEB 3, 2013
Ken makes a scene about an upcoming reading at Ensemble Studio Theatre
FRIDAY, FEB 1, 2013
Ken makes a scene about joining Season Two of House Of Cards
SATURDAY, DEC 8, 2012
Ken makes a scene about a letter from Liz Engelman
THURSDAY, DEC 6, 2012
Ken makes a scene about "Red State Blue State" on This American Life
MONDAY, NOV 5, 2012
Ken makes a scene about a stage adaptation of Warrior Class for the BBC.
TUESDAY, OCT 16, 2012
Ken makes a scene about participating in Baltimore Center Stage's MY AMERICA PROJECT, directed by Hal Hartley
SUNDAY, JUL 29, 2012
Errol Louis makes a scene about Warrior Class on NY1's INSIDE CITY HALL
WEDNESDAY, JUL 25, 2012
Head critic for NYTimes makes a scene about Warrior Class on WQXR's Around Broadway.
TUESDAY, JUL 24, 2012
REVIEW: The New York Times makes a scene about Warrior Class.
TUESDAY, JUL 24, 2012
REVIEW: The Daily News makes a scene about Warrior Class
TUESDAY, JUL 24, 2012
REVIEW: Variety makes a scene about Warrior Class.
TUESDAY, JAN 24, 2012
Ken makes a scene about The Montgomery New's Review of FALLOW at People's Light and Theatre Company.
THURSDAY, JAN 19, 2012
Ken makes a scene about STAGE Magazine's review of FALLOW at People's Light and Theatre Company.
THURSDAY, DEC 1, 2011
Ken makes a scene about a remarkable piece of writing about the American theatre
TUESDAY, NOV 22, 2011
Ken makes a scene about a character's stage transformation
MONDAY, NOV 21, 2011
Ken makes a scene about WARRIOR CLASS online
TUESDAY, SEP 27, 2011
Ken makes a scene about the Asian American Performers Action Committee
MONDAY, SEP 26, 2011
Ken makes a scene about the fast work of SCR's casting department
FRIDAY, SEP 16, 2011
Ken makes a scene about Anne Garcia-Romero's post about LoNyLa
WEDNESDAY, JUL 6, 2011
Ken makes a scene about the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage's $150,000 grant to FALLOW
SUNDAY, JUN 19, 2011
A letter from Kaitlin Hopkins - Head of the Musical Theatre Program at Texas State
TUESDAY, FEB 15, 2011
Ken makes a scene about science plays.
WEDNESDAY, DEC 22, 2010
Ken makes a scene about Intelligence-Slave making the Houston Chronicles Top Theater Shows of 2010 list
TUESDAY, OCT 19, 2010
Ken makes a scene about intra out-group persecution.
WEDNESDAY, OCT 13, 2010
Ken makes a scene about why theater is not a humanity.
WEDNESDAY, OCT 6, 2010
Ken makes a scene about Athol Fugard's criticism about the failure of modern dramatists
MONDAY, JUL 26, 2010
Ken makes a scene about the diverse audience of Queens Theater in the Park
SUNDAY, JUN 6, 2010
Ken makes a scene about the Jewish Herald-Voice's profile of INTELLIGENCE-SLAVE
WEDNESDAY, JUN 2, 2010
Ken makes a scene about Lee Williams's review of Intelligence-Slave in the Houston Press
TUESDAY, JUN 1, 2010
Ken makes a scene about his Intelligence-Slave interview with culturemap.com
SATURDAY, MAY 29, 2010
Ken makes a scene about Everett Evans's review in the Houston Chronicle
TUESDAY, MAY 25, 2010
Ken makes a scene about sharing a collective spirituality in the theater
SUNDAY, MAY 23, 2010
Ken makes a scene about seeing the bird through the feathers
FRIDAY, MAY 21, 2010
Ken makes a scene about tech, letting go of the play and making discoveries in production
MONDAY, MAY 17, 2010
Ken makes a scene about INTELLIGENCE-SLAVE in the Houston Press
SUNDAY, MAY 16, 2010
Ken makes a scene about INTELLIGENCE-SLAVE in the Houston Chronicle
THURSDAY, MAY 13, 2010
Ken makes a scene for the Alley Theatre's Mark Bly
WEDNESDAY, APR 21, 2010
Ken makes a scene about being playwright 151 in Adam Szymkowicz's blog.
THURSDAY, APR 8, 2010
Ken makes a scene about changing the name of his play.
THURSDAY, MAR 18, 2010
Ken makes a scene about pundits and why Tom Hanks is "injecting" racism into World War II.
TUESDAY, MAR 16, 2010
Ken makes a scene about writing "winning" dialogue.
MONDAY, MAR 15, 2010
Ken makes a scene about agents and the ecology of show business.
SATURDAY, MAR 13, 2010
Ken makes a scene about the beauty of the theater actor
THURSDAY, DEC 17, 2009
Ken makes a scene about non-English language productions
TUESDAY, NOV 17, 2009
Ken makes a scene about reviewing business books for theater artists
WEDNESDAY, NOV 4, 2009
Ken makes a scene about THE BIG REWRITE!
TUESDAY, OCT 27, 2009
Ken makes a scene about the discovery of an algorithm for happiness (7ZJJBYD9U6PX)
THURSDAY, OCT 22, 2009
Ken makes a scene about Holocaust fiction as a literary genre
TUESDAY, OCT 13, 2009
Ken makes a scene about Asians who don't go to the theater.
MONDAY, OCT 5, 2009
Ken makes a scene about the challenge of bravery in the theater.
MONDAY, SEP 28, 2009
Ken makes a scene about the death of Tragedy and Comedy.
TUESDAY, SEP 22, 2009
Ken makes a scene about Dave Matthews's statement that racism is "everywhere" in America.
WEDNESDAY, SEP 16, 2009
Ken makes a scene about why playwrights need websites.
End of Scene Blog

Review: "[FALLOW] ... is a play you must find time to see."
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Bookmark and Share
Read The Montgomery News' review of FALLOW.

‘Fallow' mines rich field of human experience

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

By Carrie Compton
Theater Reviewer

The word "fallow" might bring to mind emptiness and desolation, but the latest People's Light & Theatre production by that very name is anything but. Indeed, this richly-told tale is quite antithetical to its name. The Kenneth Lin-penned script gushes with emotion, pathos and dignity as it follows a middle-aged mother's search for consolation in the vast landscape of rural California after her son's untimely death.

At the heart of things, "Fallow" has something of a "buddy" plotline: Elizabeth, the grieving mother (played by Mary Elizabeth Scallen) is paired with a Mexican immigrant-turned-taxi driver named Happy (Robert Montano), who offers to take her to visit her son's killers in prison.

Along the wa,y we learn that the upper-class Elizabeth embarked upon this cross-country excursion on a whim one sleepless night; that Happy, the seemingly fortuitous taxi driver, came upon her by anything but chance; and that her son's journey, while ill-fated, had meaning beyond comprehension.

Elizabeth's son, Aaron (George Olesky), a 20-something Cornell student, abandons his education in search of something even he can't describe, after a romance sours. But when he finds himself in the rural stretches of the country's South, he finds purpose in beekeeping.

Aaron's scenes play out in flashbacks, mostly delivered in monologue form by Olesky, with mesmerizing effect. As the story progresses, we learn of Aaron's demise, his relationship with the migrant workers, his friendship with Happy.

The premise sounds bleak and is heart-wrenching, to be sure, but in the fashion of a truly talented playwright, Lin is able to stave off darkness and transform this tragedy into a piece of art that reminds its witnesses of the beauty and brevity of life.

Lin's script, while providing a rock-solid foundation for the production, is not the only thing about "Fallow" that works in its favor. The cast has a rarely found cooperation of actors, wherein each serves as a perfect complement to the next. The six-person ensemble has three cast members who appear in only one scene, but who each manage to similarly steal those scenes and make their characters' roles immeasurably contribute to the movement of plot and the development of key characters.

Laura Giknis is so convincing as the dorky and drunk coed that when she kisses Aaron, one feels compelled to look away for fear of impinging upon their privacy. The short appearance of Jimmy, played by People's Light veteran Stephen Novelli, was so incredibly graceful that his obscenity-laced dialogue came off almost as poetry.

And a short but ever-so-insightful scene between a solider and Aaron was done justice by Joseph Michael O'Brien and had more implications for the script and Aaron's uncertain place in society than any other single scene.

While the supporting cast carried more than its fair share of the production, the bulk of the kudos goes to the three main characters, with special mention made of Montano. Among the many stereotypes of Mexican immigrants, there isn't much said of the hard-working family men who prop up their family by walking the straight and narrow. This is the character Montano brings to life with integrity and grit. Montano's choices — from body language to accent — strike a perfect balance and remind us all that goodness exists, and sometimes even benefits those who live by it.

In the more volatile scenes with Scallen, Montano is able to transform himself from the joking easy-go-lucky entrepreneur to the frightened subservient immigrant who can't find a way, try as he might, to make his frenzied white companion content.

It is this careful balance of power and inequity of social standing that so enriches the "buddy" aspect of this production. Scallen and Montano bring to these roles just the right amount of yin and yang to make the piece take flight and truly win over the audience.

Finally, praise must be given to Olesky's Aaron, who adds whimsy and a sense of loss to this play like no other character. In many ways, Aaron's character is a typical starry-eyed dreamer in love with the idea of a perfect world — but Olesky fights against coming off as a pie-in-the-sky hippie.

Instead, he, much like Happy, just wants to do right by those around him and hopes for nothing more but good in exchange. He's left the cookie-cutter role of the well-off doctor's son in the East, but not bitterly so. Indeed he even admits he'd like to return, but that his journey has shown him many times over he has no idea how.

In too many theaters these days, one sees plenty of snoozing patrons. Not so with "Fallow." In fact, it was almost impossible not to notice how many guests were literally on the edge of their seats, and in the bathroom after the final curtain, how many were composing their sniffling noses and running mascara. This is not just a play, unlike many others out there; it is a play you must find time to see.

end of scene
Bookmark and Share

Copyright © 2017 Kenneth K. Lin; All Rights Reserved.