Alumna’s Play Opens to Rave Reviews in New York
Deanna Jent '84
Oct. 29, 2012
BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— “Falling” a play by Illinois Wesleyan University alumna Deanna
Jent, Class of 1984, received rave reviews after its opening on Oct. 15 at the Minetta
Lane Theater in New York.
The play, with the tagline “ Family’s not the most important thing, It’s everything,”
is about how an autistic adolescent named Josh, affects the lives of his family members
who are trying to balance what is best for the family and what is best for themselves.
The delicate equilibrium of their home, however, is disturbed when a relative comes
to visit. The storyline explores love and relationships, hopes and dreams and poses
the question, “How do you love someone who is difficult to love?”
New York Observer
, Rex Reed, film critic and former co-host of the syndicated-television show “At The
Movies,” said in his review of the play, “Graceful writing, great acting, exquisite
direction, suspense, profound subject matter—you rarely find even one of those elements
in a contemporary play opening in commercial New York theater, and never all in the
same play at the same time. That’s what makes Falling such a shock.”
Frank Scheck, long-time member of the New York Drama Critics Circle and columnist
New York Post
had an excellent review for the play as well, “this heartfelt and nuanced family
drama is shot through with dark humor, as cathartic for the audience as it is for
its conflicted characters.” Scheck wrote in his column, “Superbly staged by Lori Adams
and wonderfully acted — Murney is gut-wrenching as a mother who sacrifices her happiness
for a son who barely acknowledges her presence — “Falling” soars.”
critic Joe Dziemianowicz, Jent “wisely avoids maudlin movie-of-the-week sentimentality.
Her script is sharp and observant.”
The cast of "Falling" performs a scene from the play.
The play has been equally well received by the viewers. The play’s website is flooding
with positive comments by the audience with remarks such as, “A deeply moving play
about a difficult subject. Beautifully written, excellently performed.”
Jent is delighted by the response her play is receiving on its Off-Broadway run.
“I am thrilled that the story of “Falling” continues to be told. While it deals specifically
with a family caring for a child with autism, the play really explores the messy reality
of loving someone who is hard to love -- and that's a universal theme. I also love
that I met our brilliant director, Lori Adams, while I was an undergrad and she was
a teacher at IWU! We've maintained a personal friendship and professional collaboration
Jent, who graduated from IWU with a bachelor’s degree in theatre arts, is the artistic
director of Mustard Seed Theatre in St. Lois, Mo., and a professor of theatre at Fontbonne
University, St. Louis.
Her writings for stage include adaptations of “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austin,
“Till We Have Faces” by C. S. Lewis, and “Imaginary Jesus” by Matt Mikalatos. “Falling”
was developed at Mustard Seed Theatre in the fall of 2011 and won the 2012 Kevin Kilne
Award for Best New Play. Jent also won the Kevin Kline Award for Best Director of
a Musical for her production of “Godspell.” She is a free lance director and a former
theater critic for Riverfront Times.
Adams, a native of Nebraska, was an adjunct faculty member at IWU during the 1980s
while Deanna was a student at IWU. She is currently the head of the Acting Program
at Illinois State University. Apart from the premiere of “Falling,” Adams has directed
“Fires in the Mirror” at Mustard Seed Theatre in 2012. Her directing credits at ISU
include “The Grapes of Wrath,” “Picnic,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Crime of the Heart,”
“A View from the Bridge,” and “The Diary of Anne Frank.”
Contact: Mallika Kavadi’15 (309) 556-3181, email@example.com