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Paul Blackwell, When The Rain Stops Falling Paul Blackwell, When The Rain Stops Falling
photo Jacqui Way
WHILE CONTEMPORARY PERFORMANCE HAS JUXTAPOSED THE TALENTS OF PERFORMERS WITH THOSE OF ARTISTS IN SOUND, SCULPTURE, INSTALLATION, VIDEO AND NEW MEDIA FOR DECADES, THE SELF-CONTAINED WORLD OF THEATRE HAS BEEN MORE CAUTIOUS.

There are Australian theatre artists like Benedict Andrews, Michael Kantor, Barrie Kosky, Jenny Kemp, Matthew Lutton, Chris Kohn and Anna Tregloan whose work has cultural immediacy—each has a distinctive stage language but in dialogue with a wide range of practices from the world beyond.

Sound design has become integral to theatre over the last decade, providing more than interludes and, at best, something more than cinematic ambience. But more adventurous collaborations are rare. So it’s exciting to discover that a wonderful Adelaide artist, the Iranian born Hossein Valamanesh, acclaimed for his installations drawn directly from nature (Australian and Iranian), is working with Brink Productions and the State Theatre Company of South Australia on Andrew Bovell’s new play, When The Rain Stops Falling.

Given that the play, says Brink artistic director Chris Drummond, is about “where we’re all going as human beings at a personal level, at a political level, at a historical, environmental, ecological level”, Valamanesh’s idiosyncratic spatial sensibility and his acute responsiveness to the natural world from which he draws the materials for his unconventional creations, would seem ideal for such an enquiry.

Rather than being asked to interpret the finished play by providing a scenic framework, Valamanesh was invited instead to work with Brink and Bovell in 2004 on conceptualising the work before the playwright commenced writing.

Bovell, the writer of the feature film Lantana (based on his earlier stage works) and co-writer with director Anna Kokinos of Head On, has created a four-generation epic stretching from 1959 to 2039, tracing family conflicts and the search for a lost father from London to South Australia to the desert against a changing climate. An Australian play that locates itself in the great environmental drama we are living through is a rarity. And to ask a visual artist of Valamanesh’s stature and insight to be party to such a grand venture, even rarer. RT


Brink Productions with the State Theatre Company of South Australia and the Adelaide Festival of Arts, When the Rain Stops Falling, writer Andrew Bovell, director Chris Drummond, visual artist Hossein Valamanesh, performers Paul Blackwell, Michaela Cantwell, Carmel Johnson, Kris McQuade, Anna Lise Phillips, Neil Pigot, Yalin Ozucelik, composer, sound artists Quentin Grant, lighting designer Niklas Pajanti; Scott Theatre, Adelaide, Feb 28-March 15

RealTime issue #83 Feb-March 2008 pg. 39

© RealTime ; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

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