American Falls

She’s already made a name for herself as an award-winning actor, and now with Catastrophic Theatre’s world premiere of American Falls, Miki Johnson adds playwright to her résumé.

American Falls begins with the line “Let me tell you a story,” and each of the characters does just that. Lisa, who is newly dead, is watching her dangerously unstable husband Samuel as he has a breakdown. Since Lisa cheated on him while she was alive, it’s no surprise that Samuel has more than a few harsh words to say about her, including calling her the C-word in front of their young son. (“Their” is actually inaccurate, as Samuel isn’t his biological father — the boy’s father was Lisa’s lover, which accounts for some of Samuel’s anger.) There’s a trio of friends sitting in a bar and a Native American shoe salesman. The salesman tells us he’s magical. “Not bullshit magic, real magic,” he says.

Director Jason Nodler says, “Lisa’s line ‘It’s all nothing. And it’s everything,’ that’s at the center of the play. It’s a very powerful play; it’s very moving. But I wouldn’t want anyone to think that it’s super-heavy. It’s about a lot of sad things, yes, but it’s about how we survive those sad things. It’s about fragility and resilience. It’s an uplifting if rather unflinching look at life and mortality.” Nodler says that despite its serious themes, American Falls is extremely funny. “We’re six weeks into this and we’re still laughing at all of the jokes.”

8 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays. Through June 9. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway. For information, call 713-522-2723 or visit
Fridays, Saturdays. Starts: May 25. Continues through June 9, 2012


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