“Some problem with the nuclear thing again …” Such is the breezy way locals in a remote New Mexico community shrug off a declared state of emergency following a nearby uranium mine accident in “Angels Fall,” Lanford Wilson’s 1982 drama at the Lex Theatre.
Less nonchalant about the resulting highway closures — not to mention the potential radiation hazards — are two pairs of motorists forced to seek refuge from the heat in a humble adobe mission.
This pretext for assembling a diverse cross-section of characters is admittedly a bit labored and melodramatic; in his better-constructed plays, the late Wilson achieved the same end within more naturalistic setups. Nevertheless, the playwright’s signature generosity of spirit — his exploration of human fallibility with insight and empathy rather than judgment — is fully illuminated in a revival from the Production Company that advantageously applies its staging resources.
Director Alex Egan is particularly adept with the precision timing required for the play’s abrupt shifts of tone. A precisely-timed silence following some humorous banter suffices to convey dawning uncertainty and helplessness as the six characters grapple with internal and external stresses.