Falling: A Wake, a new play by Canadian playwright Gary Kirkham, has been on Ellise Pruitt Mayor’s mind since she saw it at a festival of new plays, “in a tiny, tiny, tiny little town,” in Canada. Since that time, approximately four years, actress, director and producer Mayor has lobbied to have the play staged in Birmingham. The performance saw a successful run at Birmingham Festival Theatre in June and at South City Theatre in Pelham in July. February 23, the play opened at Samford University’s Chrsitenberry Planetarium, and its new home under the vast stretch of stars appears to be the perfect fit.
Set on a small farm in Canada, Kirkham’s play takes on ideas about faith, providence and the random, seemingly meaningless acts that occur over the course of a person’s life. When the body of a young man strapped in his airplane seat lands on Elsie and Harold’s farm in the middle of the night, the couple must examine life, love and the dark humor of it all. This was a perfect fit for Samford University’s new Science and Religion Club, a student organization headed by Steve Donaldson that seeks to find understanding and create a dialogue between religion and scientific discoveries.
“This play is a perfect meeting of those two topics,” Mayor, who also stars in the play as Elsie, said. “I think it’s a very healthy approach to people’s belief systems that we don’t see very often.”
The play deals with the real-life tragedy and subsequent fallout of a terrorist attack in 1988, as the couple tries to make sense in very human terms of a senseless act of violence and profound loss. Despite this context, Mayor insists that it is a “really funny play.”
Falling: A Wake will have two more performances: Saturday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 28, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15. For more information, visit samford.edu