|Ballinger and Nithapalan|
That she is indeed relatively well, even seven years later, is something of a miracle. And that she and John came to the opening of Erik's new play roughly based on their harrowing experiences in the ICU is another kind of miracle:
After opening night, both Uma and John told me it had been painful to watch – but painful in a good way, because it reminded them of how far they’ve come. Uma said she’s never seen her struggle with aphasia reflected in a piece of entertainment before. As hard as it was for her to watch, she was grateful that people would leave the play with a better understanding of what she’s been through.Chalk up another title in the wish-I-was-in-L.A.-to-see-it file. Erik also told me about a group of playwrights he meets with regularly to keep up their chops—including folks like Bridget Carpenter, Jessica Goldberg, Diane Rodriguez, and the indispensable Michael Sargent—and it gave me both a pang of nostalgia and a burst of hope. If those writers are still making plays in L.A.—a place where the relative indifference of the media and audiences, let alone the rest of the theater world (let alone "the industry"), ever threatens the persistence of even the good and great theater that gets done there—then something is still right with the world. As Erik has one his characters say: “The doctors are always warning you not to have false hope. But you’ve gotta have hope.” Amen.