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Just Paint Over It

Walking up to the defunct Iron City Brewery and knocking on a large, plywood door to gain entry doesn't feel like going to the theatre at all. Actually, it feels more like a place you would go to see an underground band, not a play.

Inside, the building is just a large and dimly lit, empty, industrial space. But under the high, steel framed ceiling Quantum Theatre placed a home brewed, minimalist stage and stadium seating - complete with folding chairs. The stage sprawls out in front of the audience. Directly in front is a kitchen table and a single wall with two doors a coat rack, window and stove. To the right is a park bench, a few trees and props seldom used by the actors. To the left, looming above everything, sits the recreation of Ayer's Rock - a large rock formation in Northern Australia.

Given the nature of the building, there is no heat and patrons should dress appropriately. However, don't think that takes away from the production at all. In fact, the depressing atmosphere suits When the Rain Stops Falling remarkably well. Because, like an underground band, this show is too edgy for mainstream popculture. The story revolves around the repurcussions of an incestous pedophile exiled to Australia by his wife after she discovers erotic pictures of their son amongst more pictures of other children, some obviously terrified and distressed.

Though the story doesn't begin there. It begins with a fish falling from the sky. From here, the story stretches out across continents and nonlinearly through time, focusing mostly on Nick Lehane's character, Gabriel. Lehane brings out the innocence and niavity bred into him by his mother. Despite her efforts Gabriel does not remain entirely ignorrant of his father; he finds a cache of cryptic postcards addressed to him from his father. He discerns a location, Ayer's Rock Australia, and after confronting his disinterested mother, he sets out to connect in whatever way he still can. Of course, you can't follow in the steps of tragedy and not expect to find more tragedy.

Quantums choice of venue allowed for Lighting Designer Deborrah Bergmark-Peelor to present the effects in a way the audience can't miss. At times, giant bolts of lightning flash on the high walls of the old brewery. Before the play begins, water droplets are projected across the entire stage.

Though the play is mostly about the relationship between father and son, it would not be fair to limit it solely to the inheritance of one man. Instead, the play explores the cumulative effect of years spent covering up or painting over or running from problems. This was the most difficult part of the play, each scene has conflict and a character who refuses to change or even acknowledge fault. Effectively, interaction in most scenes feel repetitive and are predictable. Though at times it is difficult to tell which character is which as multiple actors play the same character depending on what point in time the current scene takes place. However, towards the end, time begins to overlap and characters reflect on their past lives, dissolving some of the ambiguity as both actors appear on stage at the same time.

It is difficult to go into specific detail about the story without retelling it in it's entirety. In part, because the audience is left to put all the pieces of the play together on their own as it draws to a close. In the past, no solutions were possible because no characters were willing to even acknowledge their problems. However, the final scene stands out from the rest in this way; conflict is expected but little is found. Instead of painting over their problems, the characters lay everything out on the table for all to see. While this can do nothing for the past, it allows the present characters the chance to move on and escape their tragic inheritance.


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