“When the Rain Stops Falling,” by award-winning Australian playwright Andrew Bovell, was heralded as the Best New Play of 2010 by TIME Magazine. San Diegans can judge that for themselves when the show opens at Cygnet Theatre on Jan. 14, directed by Rob Lutfy.
Searching to broaden the narrative experience through the way they tell stories was part of the reason Lutfy and Artistic Director Sean Murray brought the piece to Cygnet Theatre.
“This play is a drama and has funny moments, but it also has unexpected connections of revelation in how one person may be connected to another, and how that other person might affect another person,” Lutfy said. “I find that satisfying, especially in theater. This is a huge story on an epic scale. We’re in four generations from the late 1950s to 2039 — that’s 80 years. The story’s not linear and unravels with secrets that are revealed in each scene. It’s really beautiful. It’s crafted with an economy of language.”
The play has lots of music, touches on global warming, is set in several countries and looks back at family histories.
“It demanded a director with a point of view and an eye on staging,” Lutfy continued. “Every scene is dovetailed into the next. You can be in one country in one moment and suddenly you’re in another country, so we have to understand who these people are. It begins with a man searching for his father to find out where he came from and know his identity. And it’s about resilience as all of these people survive the damage of the abandonment.”
The seven-member cast — already getting raves from Lutfy — plays multiple roles, sometimes a younger and older version of the same character.
Cygnet’s returning actors include Rosina Reynolds, Rachel VanWormer and Tom Stephenson. Making their Cygnet debuts are Adrian Alita, Beth Gallagher, Cristina Soria and Francisco Rodriguez.
“I like a play that grapples with life,” Lutfy said. “This is this play. At the beginning we ask audience members to meet the characters halfway and grabble with them, and also trust that we will make sense of it all. It’s a play about hope and redemption that Bovell reveals for our future. He has taken the torch from Harold Pinter and gone further with it.”