Friday, November 12, 2021


Opens November 18 at the Culbreth Theatre,

The year is 2039. It’s been raining for days when a sudden omen forecasts the end of life on earth. Climate change becomes the companion to a family tree whose branches span four generations and two continents in this intricate story that considers how patterns of abandonment and betrayal shape a damaging legacy that may test the resilience of its inheritors.

Welcome to the world of Andrew Bovell’s When the Rain Stops Falling, opening at the Culbreth Theatre on November 18.

When the Rain Stops Falling will run November 18-20 at 8pm, December 3&4 at 8pm, and December 5 at 2pm. Tickets are $14.00 for adults; $12.00 for UVA faculty and staff, members of the UVA Alumni Association, and seniors; and $8.00 for students. Tickets are available now at the UVA Arts Box Office in the Drama Building on Culbreth Road, and online at https://tickets.artsboxoffice.virginia.edu/events.

When The Rain Stops Falling is a fascinating, intricate puzzle of a play that uses a continuous stream of seamless time-hopping moments to tantalizingly uncover a family’s deepest and darkest secrets – exposing issues of abandonment, destruction, forgiveness, love, and finally, hope, that mirrors the place we find ourselves with the very planet on which we live. 

“One of the things I love about this play,” said UVA Drama Artistic Director Marianne Kubik, who is directing the production, “is that it has these interconnected universal themes. It brings up climate change, yes, and at the same time it’s about the way the damage of the past can settle from fathers and mothers onto their children, affecting not only their children’s lives, but, if left unresolved, those of generations to come.”

Kubik was intrigued by the way that Bovell manages to balance the apocalyptic nature of a play with characters living their lives against a near-constant backdrop of weather-related natural disasters while, at the same time, illustrating resilience and hope in humanity still moving forward. “Inclement weather is  an emotional metaphor for the characters,” she said, “but, while they talk about the different types of natural disasters throughout history, these characters also highlight the resilience of humanity to somehow persevere. In one of my favorite scenes, a character notes that, amid an historical summer of relentless, horrendous weather, Mary Shelley somehow managed to write “Frankenstein,” a literary classic that has stood the test of time.”

So how does one begin to tackle this sweeping and epic, yet powerfully intimate tale? According to Kubik, it takes an artistic village, starting with a hard-working and talented cast. “I am very proud of the student actors’ work,” she said. “They are grappling with a play that takes on some really tough topics, and a play structure that asks a lot of their skills in observation and collaboration. It’s brilliant to watch them share the stage with one another playing repeated dialogue, simultaneous scenes from different countries and time periods, and even sharing the same characters at different life stages.”

A large part of capturing these sorts of complexities falls on the design team, which has, in some form or fashion, been working together on the production  since last summer. Pulling double duty is scenic and lighting designer R. Lee Kennedy, UVA Associate Professor of Lighting Design. “To problem-solve the weather‘s many-layered contributions to the story,” Kubik said, “I wanted an intentionally inclusive design process and was excited to bring Lee aboard for this. His scenic design will have audiences experiencing the Culbreth Theater in a way they haven’t before, inviting them to step into the play with us. We want the tone of the climate crisis we’re all experiencing to emerge and play into a metaphor of feeling alone in a sea of the tumultuous emotions and seemingly inescapable news cycles that have characterized the last couple of years.”

Another way the production is bringing audiences into the world of the play is through large-scale projections created by UVA Associate Professor of Digital Media Design Mona Kasra. “These projections will literally and figuratively be a huge component of the show,” Kubik said. “They are creative responses to every scene to support and enhance the emotional content of the play in really important ways.”

Kubik has leaned on the kinetic designs of lighting, sound, and projection to serve as what she calls a “poetic influence” on the piece. “I’ve invited the designers to play during our upcoming tech rehearsals, to collaborate with the actors in a way that truly integrates the design into the performance and invites actors to invest in and play off of these elements.”

In this particular artistic village, Kubik said, the audience will play an important role. “Andrew Bovell has said that he was interested in giving the audience a bit of work to do with this play. I’m intrigued by the puzzle to be solved by the play’s unusual structure, and, through the guideposts we’ve set up in the staging, I hope we can engage in solving the individual mysteries and uncover a sense of our own involvement in the larger thematic message.”

For mature audiences. Please be advised that this play contains potentially distressing topics. For detailed information please read the content warning.

Parking for UVA Drama performances is available at the Culbreth Road Parking Garage, conveniently located alongside the theaters.