“‘Next Fall’ is a show about love and religion,” says Minnesota State University, Mankato sophomore Jonothan Mor, “but also it’s a show about human beings and how we come together in the face of crisis.”
Opening in MNSU’s Andreas Theater on April 21, “Next Fall” is a story about queerness, religion, and humanity.
Mor, who plays Luke, says the show focuses on his character and Adam, played by MNSU senior Nick Finkin. It focuses on their relationship and the ways they experience being queer through religious and non-religious communities.
“It’s funny and witty but it also deals with some serious subject matter — it’s very real in that way,” says director Eric Parrish. Parrish, who is a first-year graduate student in the MFA theater program, says this show has a special place for him out of the large variety of shows he has directed.
“I’m an openly gay man and I’m also a practicing Christian, so this play is very important to me,” he said. “When I first saw it in 2011 it was one of the first times that I saw a gay Christian being represented in a storyline, and that’s a big deal.”
The storyline of “Next Fall” follows characters Adam and Luke through two different timelines with the first being the aftermath of a car crash. Luke is rushed to the hospital and the audience is given a view into the waiting room, where his parents, an old friend, a new friend, and Adam anxiously wait for any news.
The second timeline covers the last five years of their relationship. This includes Adam and Luke meeting, getting to know each other, falling in love and navigating their relationship.
Mor and Finkin provide a slew of both witty and heartfelt lines that endear the audience to their characters and intrigues viewers about their relationship.
Freshman Faith Peterson, who plays Adam’s best friend Holly, said, “It’s this back and forth between Adam and Luke and the different perspectives that the characters have about their relationship, whether it’s a difference in their stance on gay rights or spirituality. It’s very thought provoking and emotionally investing.”
Peterson said the show is meant to be a unique slice of life.
“What I appreciate about Holly is she’s such a lovable character,” she said. “I keep going through this process and finding the connections between her and I. A lot of what Holly does is finds humanity and connects with every single one of the characters. She also finds the ways to love them in their own beautiful human ways.”
Mor said he holds many similarities to his character, the biggest being they are both queer men who grew up very religious.
“I had to learn to change my perspective on religion and being gay,” he said on his experience.
“While we hold a very similar kind of attitude and background, there’s also vastly different ways we approach things. I’m out to most, if not all, of my family, but Luke really is not, so there are big differences of mindset.”
Both Peterson and Mor said their favorite part of the show was getting to meet and work with new students.
“They are so much fun,” Peterson said. “It was so easy for them to make me laugh, and I really appreciated that because it helped me be more comfortable with them.”
Added Mor, “I have never gotten to work with my castmates in this kind of setting. I loved seeing both the characters and cast members develop new relationships.”
“Next Fall” will be showing in the Andreas Theater on April 21-25 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets may be purchased online at the department’s website.