The trouble with Kenneth Lin's Fallow, receiving its world premiere at People's Light & Theatre Company, begins at the beginning. Elizabeth Hayes (Mary Elizabeth Scallen), on a quest to visit her son Aaron's murderers in prison, first travels to California farm country, where Aaron was a migrant worker after dropping out of Cornell University. Upon her arrival in the Golden State - helpfully, she's wearing a T-shirt that reads "California" - Elizabeth immediately encounters Happy (Robert Montano), a Mexican gypsy-cab driver, who may know more about Aaron than he admits.
Lin never clarifies whether Elizabeth's meeting with Happy occurs by chance or design, though his play seems to claim both. But that's only the first problem in a drama so overstuffed that its plot devices have to jostle for attention with its bloated metaphoric flourishes. Think I'm exaggerating? Here's Elizabeth's description of a strawberry's flavor, which she claims tastes like leather: "Imagine you are riding through an orchard, and your horse's hooves are smashing rotten apples and you come to a stream and you stop and smell your hands. Isn't that it?" Well, no, not in real life or in its scripted naturalistic approximation, anyway.