Travis Reiff is Gabriel York in Andrew Bovell's "When the Rain Stops Falling," playing at The Ringald Theatre in Ferndale through from Jan. 28. Photo: Joe Plambeck
Stormy Weather, Stormy Relations
By John Quinn
Originally printed 1/17/2013 (Issue 2103 - Between The Lines News)
The Ringwald Theatre is known for making high art out of low comedy, but once again the company demonstrates an uncanny understanding of the principles of great drama. Director Jaime Warrow, fresh from her remarkable performance in "Faith Healer" at The Abreact, has assembled a splendid ensemble to tackle yet another of the more complex scripts produced in recent memory. The result is utterly captivating.
Rarely do plays come with the warning "Some assembly required," but Australian playwright Andrew Bovell hands his audience a jigsaw puzzle without a box top picture to guide us. "When the Rain Stops Falling," named Time magazine's Best Play of 2010, is an atmospheric, often surreal one act that boldly skips around time and space. It reminds one of the biblically inspired aphorism, "The sins of the father shall be visited upon the son." In Bovell's world, the greatest sin committed between generations is silence.
"When the Rain Stops Falling" covers roughly 80 years and the interweaving of two families, one English, one Australian. The narrative in non-linear; the play begins in 2039 when Gabriel York (Travis Reiff), is expecting a visit from the grown son (Bailey Boudreau) he had abandoned as a child. Abandonment runs in the family; the setting jumps to London, 1988, when Elizabeth Law (Connie Cowper) receives a tense visit from her estranged son, Gabriel (Michael Lopetrone). Gabriel's father had left when he was 7, and Elizabeth has adamantly refused to discuss the circumstances. In his search to "know who he is ... Where he belongs" he follows his father's path to Australia, where he meets the coincidently named Gabrielle York (Ashley Shamoon), a lonely woman with a tragic past. He fathers a child - the Gabriel York who opened the play!
The delicate weave of Bovell's plot and characters cannot be easily described. The rapid leaps through time are disorienting, but not disturbing. Warrow's direction resembles choreography as characters move in and out of scenes, sometimes sharing the stage with a younger or older version of themselves. The performances are thoughtful and deliberate; the artists are exploring the very souls of their characters.
The Ringwald's program graciously provides a synopsis of scenes - which are duplicated, title card fashion, in Mikey Brown's nifty videography - so we have a running start of knowing where and when the action is happening. Also in the program is a family tree, but there's a date wrong on it; one more sign that this is one tough play to understand.
But understand it we do. The pieces come together, the picture is whole. It is a sad but satisfying portrait of four generations of dysfunctional family, underscored by the symbolic gloomy weather that each of them suffers under. "When the Rain Stops Falling" offers the hope that the cycle can be broken, like a ray of sunshine can break through the most forbidding sky.
'When the Rain Stops Falling'
$10-$20. The Ringwald Theatre, 22742 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Friday-Monday through Jan. 28. http://www.theringwald.com
- Michigan Theater Presents New Wine & Film Series
- Things Get Hairy In East Lansing
- Prize-Winning Musical Packs Emotional Punch
- Performance Network To Host Ann Arbor Film Festival For Two Nights
- Ann Arbor Theater Performs Classic Children's Tale
- Make A Move With East Lansing's 'Chess - A Staged Concert'
- AIDS/HIV Organizations
- The Corner Health Center
- Air Conditioning/Heating
- Hinson Heating & Air Conditioning
- Banquet Hall/Catering
- Flint Institute Of Arts
- Campus; Student and Alumni Groups
- Grand Valley State University GLBT Resources
- Community Centers
- The LGBT Network of Western Michigan
- Maxe Designs
- Religious & Spiritual
- Lord of Light Lutheran Church/ Lutheran Campus Ministry for UofM
- Plymouth Congregational Church
- Rental Service
- Modern Art Party Rentals
- Social/Community Organizations
- Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion
Enter contests to win great prizes like CDs, DVDs, concert tickets and more
- Anti-Gay Company Has Lapsed Michigan Mechanic's License
- Q&A: Scott Eastwood Endorses Father's Gay Marriage Mantra, Talks Sex Scenes ('I Was Turned On') & Mel Gibson's Advice
- Q&A: Reba Talks 'Very Important' LGBT Rights, Her First Gay Wedding & Feeling 'Sad' For Closeted Country Stars
- Is GoFundMe The New Welfare For Anti-Gay Corporations?
- Josh Groban Q&A: His Queer Bear Fans, Failing The Ryan Gosling 'Gay Test' & Why He Worships RuPaul
Sign up to receive our weekly newsletters today!
A study published in the journal The Lancet HIV reports that there is a significant disparity in HIV prevalence between black and white men who have sex with men. The study was published on Nov. 18 and found a startling 32 percent prevalence rate for black men who have sex with men, compared with only eight percent for white men who have sex with men.View More World AIDS Day
This Week's Issue
Download or view this week's print issue today!
Sign up to receive our weekly newsletters today!