1st Stage is a haven from the monotonous gimmicks and kinky signage that perforates the modern DC theatre scene. 1st Stage’s small and cozy theatre features a no-frills stage that sits flush with the front row of the audience. Reach out and touch the actors. Well maybe not, but it’s a tantalizing possibility.
…exceptionally pivotal and compassionate portrayals.
When the Rain Stops Falling is the epic saga of two families separated by vast continents: the Laws in England and the Yorks in South Australia. The play spans the eight decades between 1953-2039 and carefully dissects the relationships between family members and generational secrets as the Law and York families intertwine through happenstance, heartache, and disaster. A dark family mystery with reverberating consequences is deftly unraveled and an unseen natural disaster lurks in the wings.
Playwright Andrew Bovell’s characters overlap in time and space. The older and younger versions of characters inhabit the stage together. Snapshots of memories and daydreams expose deep pain and mesmeric mysteries. The sweeping scope of the play discloses the cyclicality of generations. Despite its scope, When the Rain Stops Falling is an astoundingly intimate portrayal of a family anchored to the past even as they move forward. Bovell is notable for his ability to use fewer words to make a larger emotional impact. The focal point of When the Rain Stops Falling is Set Designer Luciana Stecconi’s minimalist stage design is a long wooden dining table and stools that rest on a hovering wooden platform flanked by sheer rooms that allow the actors to move ghostlike between scenes.
The entire cast of When the Rain Stops Falling is superb. Yes, there were a fair amount of dialect gaffs but I can’t do an Australian accent so I won’t hold that against them. Given that the majority of the cast is currently making their 1st Stage debut, they present a cohesive ensemble and remain cognizant of opportunities for demonstrations of humor, love, and compassion. Kari Ginsberg (Elizabeth Law, younger), 1st Stage veteran Dylan Morrison Myers (Henry Law), Sara Dabney Tisdale (Gabrielle York, younger), and Scott Ward Abernathy (Gabriel Law, Andrew Price) deliver exceptionally pivotal and compassionate portrayals.
Although When the Rain Stops Falling runs the risk of becoming weighty and mentally exhausting for an audience that is asked to sit still for two hours with no intermission, Director Michael Dove’s approach is contemplative and swift. Named Best New Play of 2010 by Time Magazine, When the Rain Stops Falling has found a home in the capable hands of the cast and crew at 1st Stage.
Running Time: 2 hours, no intermission.
Advisory: Adult themes, sexual content.
When the Rain Stops Falling runs through February 28th at 1st Stage located at 1524 Spring Hill Road, McLean, VA 22102. For tickets call (703) 854-1856 or click here.