An epic play by Andrew Bovell,
When the Rain Stops Falling spans four generations and two continents, moving from the claustrophobia of a 1950s London flat to the windswept coast of Southern Australia and into the heart of the Australian desert.
The play interweaves a series of connected stories, as seven people confront the mysteries of their past in order to understand their future, revealing how patterns of betrayal, love and abandonment are passed on. Until finally, well into the future, as the desert is inundated with rain, and as fish for dinner has become an unimagineable luxury, one young man finds the courage to defy the legacy.
The play is inspired by Goya's painting of 'Saturn Devouring His Children', summed up in the line, 'You have no right to take away someone's future.'
Andrew Bovell writes in the production programme of the Australian 'Roaring Forties' landscape:
I have always been drawn to estuarine landscapes. They occupy a space between land and sea, belonging to neither. It is uncertain ground where the very earth beneath you can quickly turn to water. The very nature of the place provides a rich metaphor for Gabriel’s journey. Here he meets a young woman who bears the feminine version of his own name.Gabrielle York is as fragile as the landscape she occupies and as
haunted by her past as Gabriel Law.
Bovell is best known for his film Lantana and for co-writing the original screenplay for Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom.
Such ambivalent landscapes are also the first to show the signs of climate change. They are the canary in the coal mine. The once great Murray River no
longer reaches the sea and the ecologically significant wetlands are in danger of drying up or being inundated by salt water. It is as though there is a struggle taking place between land and sea, and the sea is winning.
The production was directed by Michael Attenborough, artistic director of the Almeida Theatre.
The image above is by Graham Peets, based on a photograph of the installation 'Another Place' by Anthony Gormley. It is not a true representation of the artwork as the photograph has been altered.
image courtesy Almeida Theatre website.