Falling Awake Won’t Put You To Sleep

Produced by RAGMOP, Falling Awake is a delightful creation written and performed by Nayana Fielkov & Matthew “Poki” McCorkle. The duo won a spot in the annual lottery held by the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals leading to a cross-country tour with this newly created surreal play that wanders between sleep and consciousness.

Upon entering the theatre, we hear strains of old-timey instrumental music. The set is sparse -- a table and two chairs, random dishes on the table, a clothesline with white frilly garments and what turns out to be a bed. As the show opens, a woman is snoring loudly and we learn that a man has died in an accident. This man is, in fact, her lover and the non-linear story of the show offers us glimpses into their love and what has been lost.

Using very little dialogue, these two performers share a relationship filled with gentle, quiet elegance. Elastic-faced, Fielkov can speak in outright gibberish and we understand her. She sometimes asks the audience for help which is eagerly given and occasionally requests that we sing along with her, which we earnestly do. And watching her fervently play the timeless game of plucking off flower petals and reciting “He loves me, he loves me not” is alone worth the price of a Fringe admission. As for McCorkle, he masters the art of sensual touches -- smelling her disheveled hair, dancing her lightly about as she reads a morning paper. He can move so lightly across the stage that you do wonder if he might be a mere ghost.

If you are a fan of physical theatre and don’t mind a story that meanders somewhat, then Falling Awake may be for you. The opening night audience certainly enjoyed it!

By Allyson McGrane