The sheer emotional impact of Andrew Bovell's play When The Rain Stops Falling was the deciding factor for Robert and Nicole Lewis when it came time to choose a new production for CentrStage and the Launceston Players.
Lecturer in theatre at the UTAS School of Visual and Performing Arts Robert Lewis and his wife Nicole, a drama teacher at Launceston College, were approached by The Launceston Players' artistic director Ray Sangston to co-direct a play and they immediately knew that they wanted to take the two theatre companies in a new direction and appeal to a modern audience.
Safe in the knowledge that doubling the number of performers would give them scope to tackle the fascinating work of Bovell, an Australian writer who is known for his plays Speaking In Tongues (adapted into the screenplay Lantana), Holy Day, Ship Of Fools and Who's Afraid of the Working Class, the two put on their directing hats and work on the production began in April.
Robert and Nicole have worked together in the performing arts for more than 17 years, the last eight with UTAS Academy of the Arts and its CentrStage Theatre Company for which they also co-directed The Drowning Bride in 2006.
When The Rain Stops Falling follows the lives of nine characters through four generations, over 80 years and two continents.
Traversing time and space, the play shows the story of damage, as it passes through each successive generation, and has an overall message of environmental protection into the future.
"I think I read this play five times before I even started to understand it," Robert admitted.
"It demonstrates how what happens in the past can affect the future – what you think is insignificant can be magnified and far more significant down the track.
"A taboo subject from one generation, supposedly well hidden, is shown to have ramifications for generations and the play really jolts your perception of reality and time."
The first scene is a rainy day in Alice Springs, 2039.
A fish falls from the heavens and lands beside Gabriel York (played by Derek Stagg), a man who lives alone in a dingy apartment.
Is this the sign that the world is ending, as predicted 80 years before?
Or is it a sign of a different kind of upheaval…
Gabriel's son, Andrew (Danny Gibson), who he hasn't seen since he was a child, calls him on the phone.
From here the audience is guided through a tangle of relationships and the full range of emotions, often empowered by knowledge that the characters are not privy to in their time and place.
When The Rain Stops Falling stars a wide range of local talent: Reuben Cheow, Kerri Gay, Danny Gibson, Betty Hall, Travis Hennessy, Cheyne Mitchell, Derek Stagg, Georgie Todman and Rachael Williams.
Tickets for When The Rain Stops Falling, which is at the Princess Theatre, Launceston from July 13-22, are now on sale at the Princess Theatre Box Office:
Ph: 6323 3666 or go to www.theatrenorth.com.au
Adults $25, concession $18, Students $10.