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Rantings, thoughts, diatribe. Anything that captures my interest and hangs around long enough to capture on a keyboard.

Monday, 22 June 2009

When the Rain Stops Falling

It's always interesting to track the signposts that lead you to an important juncture in life. A few weeks ago I was at the Origins Festival watching a documentary called Black Chicks Talking. The doco had been based on a book of interviews by Leah Purcell, who also directed and featured in the film. At the end of the screening, a Q & A was held whereby the audience was informed that Ms Purcell was currently in London acting in a play called When the Rain Stops Falling.

It was a busy week that followed but it seemed that everytime I opened a newspaper I would spot an interview with someone in the play. Or a favourable review about the play. Not long after, a friend from work told me about a brilliant Australian play that she had seen the night before. I must go she told me. I acquiesed to the inevitable and got the tickets straight away online.

I have now just returned from the Almeida Theatre where I saw Andrew Bovell's play at long last. It not only met my expectations but exceeded them. It was the best play I have seen in a very long while. It seamlessly combined good acting, excellent set design, good venue and an engaged and eloquent script. All elements combined which held me in thrall for a good two hours without interval.

The suprise for me tonight was how moved I was by the play. It wasn't the storyline (although good) that did it but rather the evocation of the Australian landscape through language and imagery. I found myself in tears when footage appeared of waves lapping up against a beach at night or the dark Australian sky filled with clusters of stars. I did not realise how much I miss the landscape and how deeply it is entrenched somewhere inside of me.

This desire for land and light and sea and sky is hard to explain to people. It therefore gave me comfort to read Andrew Bovell's words in the play's programme:

The Australian landscape and the sense of loneliness and isolation it evokes resonates in our collective consciousness and finds expression in our literature and art. Most of us live in cities and yet the sense of distance and space that surrounds us continues to play in our minds. I grew up in the isolation of the Western Australian wheat belt, a long way from the nearest city, Perth, which in itself is the most geographically isolated city in the world. There was space and time to fill out there. It is a strikingly beautiful landscape if you know how to see it and if you know how to be alone.

So beautifully put. I couldn't have said it better myself.
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