When the Rain Stops Falling

When the Rain Stops Falling
By Andrew Bovell. National University Theatre Society. Directed by Ellie Greenwood and Gowrie Varma. A.N.U. Arts Centre 1–4 May 2013

With the constant sound of rainfall as a backdrop, When the Rain Stops Falling uses inexplicable character traits and events to weave a multigenerational tale of the effects of crippling losses upon generations to follow.

NUTS showed considerable courage in taking on this difficult play with such inexperienced directors.  The material is challenging for cast and audience alike in its repetitiveness and consequent length (two and a half hours without interval), and must have required the patience of Job to rehearse, as the final two and a quarter hours or so effectively serve as reruns of the first two or three scenes; and the (at least seemingly) longest of these was itself a series of repetitions of identical actions: walk to the window; look out through it; pee, off stage; return to the room; stop at a designated spot and do nothing; get a bowl of soup and sit at the table; commence eating it in unison with the other six actors at the table.

 

As well, the utter dreariness of the written dialogue would have been a challenge for any actor to overcome.  As the directors were keen to point out, NUTS is a student group; yet these actors, whose actual abilities were evident in their movements, and whose ability to bring the dialogue to life was further constrained by evident direction to make it unnaturally stilted throughout, deserve praise merely for managing to keep the audience awake.

 

Lighting and sound were spot on, and costuming was, as it generally should be, unobtrusive in suiting the times.  Directional limitations aside, the acting was consistently fine, though a special mention must go to Abbie Jones, whose silent rendition of untold grief (though occurring at the strangest moment) was utterly convincing and moving, and to Andrew Eddey, whose performance as the stoic Joe Ryan was beautifully understated.

 

John P. Harvey

 

Image: Abbie Jones, in When the Rain Stops Falling.

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