When The Rain Stops Falling: An Actor’s Diary

Serena Day gives us an insight into working on When The Rain Stops Falling, our production at the Tron Theatre, Glasgow in February 2015.


November: Good News! I’ve received an email from Katherine Nesbitt, the Director of Makeshift Broadcast, offering me the role of Gabrielle York in their production of When The Rain Stops Falling (WTRSF). It’s an Australian play written by Andrew Bovell, that deals with some pretty dark themes, including child sexual abuse, dementia and suicide. Personally, I like Bovell’s stance on consumer culture and climate change, and he also brings humour and playfulness into some of the scenes. There are laughs to be had as well as serious issues to be contemplated. There are two Gabrielles portrayed in WTRSF – the 24 year old we meet in 1980s and the older woman she has become many years later. It is the 2013 version of Gabrielle that I auditioned for, and I’m thrilled to have been cast. I’m the same age as the character and conveniently, don’t have to learn the accent as I’m actually Australian.

December: First Read Through. We gather on a dark Sunday afternoon in a small room at Kinning Park Complex, to meet our fellow cast members for the first time. Katherine is there, and Nina Doherty, the Production Manager. They don’t say much, but take notes as they listen to us read the play out loud from beginning to end. It’s exciting to hear the dialogue spoken as it takes life from the page through the actors. It’s also challenging to begin to make sense of the story. This play is complex and it requires plenty of concentration to keep up with the twists and revelations that occur throughout. I’m finding it a bit confusing, but maybe that’s just me? Clare from New Zealand is playing the young Gabrielle, and the rest are Scottish actors using either Australian or English accents for their roles, as some of the scenes take place in London.


January: The Hard Work. Early in January I meet Katherine and Clare at Sloans to discuss the character of Gabrielle. We each offer our thoughts and insights about this woman who, by the time she is in her twenties, has already lost her brother, mother and father. After this session I feel much more confident about how I will play the role, and I have an understanding of Gabrielle that feels authentic, as if she is a real person. In a space above The Old Hairdressers, Katherine leads the whole cast through a series of movement exercises that let us explore our relationship to space, to each other, and to the group as an entity. We are starting to feel like an ensemble, a team – seven actors who are all working towards the same goal. And then for the rest of the month it’s all rehearsals, learning lines (BORING!) and more rehearsals.

February: Performance. Philippa Mannion, our Producer, has come up from London to watch our final rehearsals. Emma Fitzgibbon, the production’s Designer, is giving final approval to our costumes. The pace of events is quickening and opening night is looming. The last few rehearsals fly by, and then suddenly it is dress rehearsal day. At last we enter the Changing House, a studio space inside the Tron Theatre where the play will be staged. All of us are excited and happy, as well as being nervous to varying degrees. The four night run has sold out which is fantastic! Opening night goes well without any significant problems and it’s a really engaged, attentive audience. For the next three nights, I’m not nervous at all and I’m able to enjoy being in the moment during my scenes. John, the actor who plays my husband, does such an accurate Australian accent that my real-life Aussie husband was astonished to learn that he is from Paisley! Our production gets a 4-Star review in The Scotsman, so it’s safe to say that we all consider it a great success!

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