When the Rain Stops Falling

Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, The Edge, Auckland

04/06/2010 - 03/07/2010

Production Details

“…A stunning, gut-wrenching piece of theatre. Once seen it will never be forgotten…”
Bold, visually arresting and profoundly moving, WHEN THE RAIN STOPS FALLING is a theatrical Rubik’s cube – an epic story of past, present and future… of planet, continent and individual. Andrew Bovell’s powerful, award-winning play has enthralled audiences in Australia, London and New York and finally hits Auckland from June 4 at the Herald Theatre.
2039. Fish are a rarity, almost extinct. Rainfall is incessant. The planet has been ravaged by years of abuse.
A fish falls from the sky and lands at the feet of Gabriel York – manna from heaven to bless the reunion of a father with his long lost son. And so we embark on an epic journey which crosses continents and spans four generations of one family. From the claustrophobia of 1950s London to the windswept coast of South Australia and into the dark heart of the Australian desert, we delve into the past and reach into the future, bringing to light the enduring impact of collective and individual actions.
Set against the backdrop of a dramatically changing climate and an uncertain future, magic realism weaves with naturalistic voyeurism. Fish fall from the sky, snow falls in the desert and one family creates a matrix of estrangement and betrayal over an eighty year period.
Bovell’s ambitious tale of compassion, transformation and survival was the surprise hit of the 2008 Adelaide Festival and is the latest achievement in an illustrious career. He has received the Australian Writers Guild Award for Best Play or Best Screenplay on 9 separate occasions. As a screenwriter, his films include Edge of Darkness with Mel Gibson, Baz Lurhmann’s Strictly Ballroom, Head On and Blessed, which is currently playing as part of the World Cinema Showcase around New Zealand. In 2001, his film Lantana (which was in turn adapted from his play Speaking in Tongues) won over 34 awards internationally.
The toast of the town in both Sydney and Melbourne last year, When The Rain Stops Falling has won over 15 awards, including the Sydney Theatre Award for Best Play, the Helpmann Award for Best Play and the Premier’s Literary Award in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. It played at London’s Almeida Theatre in 2009 and is currently playing on Broadway. Dedicated to bringing Auckland audiences the best of contemporary international theatre, Silo Theatre’s production is only the third to be staged in the world.
Tandi Wright returns to the stage after a two year hiatus, during which time she gave birth to her first child and took one of the leading roles in the upcoming TV2 drama This Is Not My Life, which hits our small screen in June. She is joined onstage by a stellar ensemble cast including Stephen Lovatt (TV2’s Go Girls; The Scene), Peter Elliott (Ruben Guthrie; God of Carnage), Jennifer Ludlam (NZ Screen Award Winner for Apron Strings) and Silo Theatre alumni Morgana O’Reilly and Simon London, both of whom return to the company after working overseas. Acclaimed NZ singer-songwriter Tama Waipara augments the creative team, having been commissioned to compose the soundtrack for this production.
Silo Theatre Artistic Director Shane Bosher follows up sellout productions of That Face, Holding The Man and Ruben Guthrie with this landmark work: “Bovell’s play is about the legacy we inherit from our parents and the legacy we leave behind for our children. It will haunt audiences long after the rain has stopped falling and audiences have walked into the night.”
“…FOUR STARS … A work of gripping and emotional depth … Its emotional intensity and poignant sense of transience mark it out as something very special……”
plays 4th June – 3rd July
Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, THE EDGE®
Tickets: $25.00 – $45.00 (service fees will apply)

Tickets available through THE EDGE – www.buytickets.co.nz or 09 357 3355  

Gabriel York                                   STEPHEN LOVATT
Elizabeth Law [Older]                   JENNIFER LUDLAM
Gabriel Law                                    SIMON LONDON
Elizabeth Law [Younger]              TANDI WRIGHT
Henry Law                                      STEPHEN LOVATT
Joe Ryan                                         PETER ELLIOTT
Gabrielle York [Older]                   JUDE GIBSON
Gabrielle York [Younger]              MORGANA O’REILLY
Andrew Price                                  SIMON LONDON
set design                                      JOHN VERRYT
costume design                            ELIZABETH WHITING
lighting design                              JEREMY FERN
sound design & composition     TAMA WAIPARA
production management            JOSH HYMAN
properties management             PIP SMITH
technical operation                      SEAN LYNCH
set construction                            2 CONSTRUCT
graphic design                             CONCRETE
production photography             AARON K
                                                        ANDREW MALMO
publicity                                         ELEPHANT PUBLICITY
WHEN THE RAIN STOPS FALLING was commissioned and originally produced by Brink Productions. The world premiere season was co-presented by Brink Productions, State Theatre Company of South Australia and the 2008 Adelaide Bank Festival of Arts in February 2008.
Silo Theatre’s production opened at the Herald Theatre, THE EDGE on June 4 2010.

Dark and disturbing tale of tragedy

Review by Janet McAllister 08th Jun 2010

Andrew Bovell’s play explores the darkest depths of family drama

God, this is bleak – fabulously so. An excellent production of a near-brilliant epic, it piles aching misery on tragic crisis on disturbing horror. Australian playwright Andrew Bovell pushes past family melodrama to find something so dark it makes Arthur Miller’s characters seem self-indulgent and screechy.

Under the accomplished direction of Shane Bosher, When the Rain Stops Falling requires very little shouting to layer on the tension. Instead, parents and children don’t talk to each other because they have too much to say.

Bad things happen in the Outback (really, English tourists should know better than to go there by now). The climactic scene, bathed in blood-red light, set my heart racing. The play doesn’t deserve such a soppy name. [More]
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History repeats in funny, sad, gritty and thought provoking play

Review by Nik Smythe 05th Jun 2010

Andrew Bovell’s complex interwoven time-jumping semi-supernatural yarn is one of the most successful plays to come out of Australia in the last few years. Shane Bosher directs this solidly designed and deeply engaging Silo production, which I believe to be the New Zealand premiere.

The plot, spanning 80 years and told out of chronological sequence, involves four generations of parents and children. We travel between the dense metropolis of London, the vast isolation of Central Australia: Alice Springs, Coorong and inland to the mighty Uluru. The convoluted events of the tangled tale include a number of running themes: fish, paint, hats and umbrellas and mainly rain – it’s raining in just about every scene.

We begin in the future (2039) when fish are all but extinct, yet one has dropped out of the sky into the hands of 50 year old Gabriel York (Stephen Lovatt), just when he needed it in an episode resembling divine intervention, though no-one regards it seriously as such. It seems at first as though we’re in for an ecological parable, though this aspect turns out to be little more than a circumstantial sub-plot.

The next scene is 1988 in Thatcher’s London, where young Gabriel Law (Simon London) is trying to learn more about his father from his ageing mother Elizabeth (Jennifer Ludlum). Then it’s 1959, London again, where we meet a younger Elizabeth (Tandi Wright) and her husband Henry Law (Lovatt), a likeable young married couple on the day they find out they are with child.

Continuing in this manner, forward and back thru different time periods, the first half of the play creates many questions which the second half answers, though creates more questions in the process. Most of the relationships either start off or become fairly estranged; dysfunctional at best. And much of the intrigue for the watcher comes from what we know, but the characters don’t.

I’m unsure as to whether it’s the script’s intention, but I notice Lovatt and London each play two roles, whereas Wright and Ludlam share the same character in different decades, as do Morgana O’Reilly and Jude Gibson respectively as the younger and older Alice Springs roadhouse manager Gabrielle (that’s right, there are two Gabriels and one Gabrielle). Peter Elliot as Gabrielle’s lovingly long-suffering husband Joe is the only actor to have a single role to himself.

Besides the excellent performances delivered under Bosher’s skilled directing hand, the production design goes a long way in giving definition to the elaborate saga. John Verryt’s quite minimal set – long wooden table and chairs, smaller table for the fish soup and a row of coat hooks along the back wall, is effectually distinguished by wide cracks resembling tectonic plates in the uneven floor. A weathered wood panel stretching the length of the downstage wall serves as a projection screen to evoke various locales and climates (again – mostly rain). 

Jeremy Fern’s lighting design works in seamlessly, highlighting scenes and characters just so without upstaging the play – as usual. Elizabeth Whiting’s costumes work similarly, creating an appropriate sense of time and place, as does the superb dramatic composition of Tama Waipara’s soundtrack.

One technical niggle distracted me slightly: in the scene where Gabriel and Gabrielle are driving home from Uluru, the rain-splattered road lines behind them are moving towards us giving the impression they’re driving backwards (!).

Also, although there is no scheduled interval, we got one after all on opening night no thanks tothe infernally shrill bleeping of some techno-gadget in the fly rig, conspicuously invading what is a wholly atmospheric piece. The audience had to be vacated whilst they dealt with the problem, which unfortunately continued intermittently through the remainder of the show. It is testament to the valiant cast that they continued regardless and we still received the majority of the play’s impact. Hopefully this won’t be an issue again! 

With all it’s layers and interwoven plot elements, When the Rain Stops Falling is a worthwhile 90 minutes of funny, sad, gritty and thought provoking contemporary theatre in which history often repeats itself, and obscure objects are treasured by their custodians as symbols of their own identity, long after the stories behind them are forgotten.
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.


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