Mark Lee Adams (center) in "When the Rain Stops Falling."
Photo by Brittany Diliberto.

My favorite kinds of stories are those of seemingly average everyday people. Because it is a story however, there has to be a reason to read or watch. I love when that reason feels like it is something average, but ultimately made extraordinary.

That said, if you decide to see "When the Rain Stops Falling" by Andrew Bovell at 1st Stage Theatre, you will think the circumstances these characters live in are anything but average. Without a doubt though, you will also feel like these characters are ones that you could know in your own life.

Under the brilliant direction of Michael Dove, the theater has produced a very complex play, that jumps from families, travels between England and Australia, and does this all non-chronologically from the 1950s through 2039. They have made it truly compelling and extraordinary.

The show is about the cycle of trauma through generations of families: the Law's and the York's. It all starts with a decision Elizabeth Law (Teresa Castacane/older, Kari Ginsburg/younger) made in the 1950s and it is fascinating to put together the pieces as the scenes unravel.

Going in I feared it would be kind of corny or asking for your emotions too obviously (like someone died, time to cry). On the contrary, the script, the pacing, the acting, resulted in investment. I was actively investigating the lives of these characters, wanting to know more. In fact, much of the excitement of the play comes from making these connections.

The actors created a dynamic ensemble. They commanded their space, time and tragedy. It is a difficult piece to perform, but it was clear that they were dedicated to their own discovery.

The set (designed by Luciana Stecconi), just walls and a table, provided unique opportunity to that end. The transparency of the walls allowed us to catch characters in moments of privacy. The simple table, allowed us to focus on the people who moved to and from that table as they overlapped in scenes. The set represented the big bad ending world. Through that we go to see how the characters deal with what's around them and how does the world deal with them.

Based on discussions with Michael Dove, he wanted "When the Rain Stops Falling" to be an emotionally accessible production. One in which you could think of your own life, family and relationships. It is an understatement to say he accomplished this.

"When the Rain Stops Falling" will be a 1st Stage through Feb . 28. For tickets call 703.854.1856 or

Runtime is 2 hours without an intermission.

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From This Author Hannah Menchhoff

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