Fans will be pouring in to watch Theatre Wesleyan’s first production of the 2016-17 season, When the Rain Stops Falling, which opened on Thursday.
Rain, written by Andrew Bovell and directed by Bryan Stevenson, is an extraordinary play with a gloomy forecast that gives the audience the opportunity to travel through time and learn the past and future of Gabriel York’s family.
The year is 2039, and York (played by Dean Phillips II) is irrationally worrying about the arrival of his son, Andrew Price (played by Trey Cardona), who he abandoned at the age of seven. York begins to freak out about lunch and the questions his son will ask.
“I know what he wants,” York frets. “He wants what all young men want from their fathers. He wants to know who he is. Where he comes from. Where he belongs. And for the life of me, I don’t know what to tell him.”
A fish falls from the sky to answer York’s prayers on what he will make for lunch. Looks like York is cooking fish. This begins a compelling saga that propels the audience into the York family’s problems, starting with York’s grandparents Henry and Elizabeth Law (played by Richard Hunter Givans and Kim Owen), who have learned some exciting, yet nerve-wracking news: Elizabeth is pregnant.
Audience members are later transferred into the future to find that the baby was born. He is an adolescent male named Gabriel Law (Raied Makhamreh). We find Gabriel in search of his father, Henry, who left him at the age of seven.
Gabriel decides to search through Australia for the truth of his father’s disappearance and instead finds the love of his life, Gabrielle (Abbie Hancock), a waitress at a roadhouse cafe. With her help, Gabriel continues his journey and learns a dark family secret.
With a focus on broken marriages, suicide, accidental deaths, missing fathers and children, and a twisted secret, Rain had fans on the edge of their seats with tears in their eyes and constant questions just waiting to be answered.
With the level of skillfulness put into lighting, sound and projection designs, fans were able to feel as if they were falling in love under a snowfall or terrified of a thunderous storm.
Through careful staging and creativity in design aspects in the play, fans were able to watch a jigsaw puzzle of emotions get pieced together into a masterful treat.
People say when it rains it pours and I’m sure Theatre Wesleyan will have fans pouring into the auditorium to watch this complex yet exciting tale.
When the Rain Stops Falling runs through Oct. 2. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. except for Oct. 2, when there will be a 2 p.m. matinee. All performances are at the Thad Smotherman Theatre. Tickets are $10 general admission and $5 for Wesleyan faculty and staff, as well as seniors, and available at 817-531-4211 or via the Theatre Wesleyan website. All Texas Wesleyan student can receive free tickets through the Student Theatrical Experience Fund (STEF).
A longer version of this review will appear in the next printed edition of The Rambler, which will be published Sept. 28.