When the Rain Stops Falling (Santa Rosa)
Over the last few years, there has been something of a renaissance in interesting drama being produced in Sonoma County. Established companies like Main Stage West and new companies like Left Edge Theatre have been staging excellent productions of newer scripts, many produced in the area for the first time.
Santa Rosa’s Roustabout Theater has been training young actors in the area for about ten years now. Last year, their artistic team decided to venture into occasional full scale productions outside of their youth-centered shows as a way to accomplish two things – as a way to give themselves the opportunity to exercise their own theatrical chops and as a way to give their graduates the opportunity to do more “adult” theatre and work on a more professional level.
Last year, they presented an excellent production of Harold Pinter’s Betrayal. This year brings Andrew Bovell’s When the Rain Stops Falling. It is a complex and engrossing examination of four generations of a family spanning eighty years. Beginning in 1959, ending in 2039 and skipping back and forth between the decades, we follow a family through birth, death, desertion and mysterious disappearance. Its labyrinthic construction can be a challenge (so much so that they actually provide a “cheat sheet” of sorts for audiences to review beforehand), but the attentive viewer will find themselves drawn in immediately. Each scene adds additional pieces to the puzzle until, after two hours of uninterrupted drama, each audience member has placed the final, horrific piece in place.
Director Clark Houston Lewis has gathered a superb cast who meet the challenges of Bovell’s script head-on – from dialect (British and Australian) to character consistency. Set/Lighting designer Theo Bridant has done wonders with the Carston Cabaret space at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts. While technically a minimalist design, Lewis fills the space with movement and Bridant fills the space with light and, most interestingly, with haze. The entire show is done in a shroud of mist that in conjunction with the lighting gives the show an other-worldly, dream-like feel that ultimately ends up being a nightmare – an absolutely riveting nightmare.
Roustabout Theater Ensemble’s When the Rain Stops Falling is a first-rate production of a fascinating piece of theatre.
When The Rain Stops Falling
Presented by the Roustabout Theater Ensemble
through June 25
Thurs, Fri, Sat @ 8pm
Luther Burbank Center for the Arts
50 Mark West Springs Rd
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Photo courtesy of Roustabout Theater