Every week the staff of Manhattan’s renowned Drama Book Shop undertakes the formidable challenge of helping actors find the best monologues for auditions and classes, answering hundreds of questions regarding the latest—and classic—plays from the U.S. and around the world; and recommending theatre craft titles–from lighting design to beating the pavement–which give best value. They even have a working theatre in their basement!
Here they are on Stage Voices, picking the best of published work to keep us up to date and aware of the little known—the next best thing to actually being in the shop, listening to their wise counsel and sage advice.
DRAMA BOOK SHOP WEEKLY PICK:
WHEN THE RAIN STOPS FALLING by Andrew Bovell
This is the play that Lincoln Center has chosen for its 25th Anniversary show. That is a singular honor. But this is a remarkable play. Time spins from 1959 London to 2039 Australian desert.
Here's a hint of this Pinteresque play.
In the opening scene, rain is pouring down. Everyone has umbrellas, (a la Our Town) and a fish suddenly falls from the sky. It appears to be a miracle. Fish are now extinct. Then Gabriel reads an excerpt from the book he has: The Decline and Fall of the American Empire 1975-2015.
This play is filled with the mysteries of what patterns are passed down through the generations and reveals patterns of love and betrayal from parent to child to grandchild.
There is the metaphysical search for one’s parents. The play delves into the parental conflict: how much one loves their parents but also rejects them. The play resonates with the consequences of what we say and what is left unsaid, especially with those we have our most intimate relationships.
There are marvelous monologues in this drama such as Gabriel's opening one, some can be performed by either men or women.
The characters appear as both their young selves and their older selves. The dialogue is poetic and edgy and actors will relish working on the memories that are elicited from the characters’ pasts.
It often seems the hardest thing for a playwright is the ending, and this one is satisfying and appropriate. It brings together all the varied themes of love, of loss, of what we need and never get and wish we’d loved more.
This is such a gorgeous play. Reading it took me back to my teens before college when I first discovered I could read plays as a private reader, not for auditions or for a degree, but to read the play for pure joy.
Review by Nancy Reardon
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