The Family Tree of 'When the Rain Stops Falling'
Andrew Bovell’s When the Rain Stops Falling examines vivid moments from the lives of the Law/York family. This family evolves from English couple Henry and Elizabeth Law in 1959 to father and son Gabriel York and Andrew Price in 2039. Explore all the characters in between the four generations in the When the Rain Stops Falling Family Tree and from the ensemble who portray them.
"The Zeitgeist of the 21st Century”
Walter Bilderback: How would you describe the relationship between the family saga and the Anthropocene? The American writer Rob Nixon uses the phrase “slow violence” to explain why it’s so hard for us to emotionally grasp climate change and why it’s so challenging to deal with it in art: in your play, it also seems to be an apt description for the legacy of Henry Law through three generations.
On June 5, 1981, the Centers for Disease Control reported a cluster of a rare form of pneumonia in five gay men in Los Angeles. Soon, doctors were noticing more people – homosexual men, hemophiliacs, heroin users and Haitians (called “the 4Hs”) – developing this disease as well as other rare diseases such as the blood cancer Kaposi’s Sarcoma (KS), with an extremely high fatality rate. In July 1982 the acronym AIDS (Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome) was introduced. A year later, French and American researchers working separately identified the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) as the root cause of AIDS. It wasn’t until 1987 that AZT, the first drug capable of slowing the disease’s progress, was discovered and approved for use.
Today there is still no cure for the disease. HIV/AIDS is considered a world pandemic. More than 33 million people (0.6% of the world population) are infected, the vast majority in sub-Saharan Africa. 25 million people are estimated to have died from the disease, with an additional 2 million dying every year. In the U.S., more than 18,000 people with AIDS die each year: gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men represent the majority of deaths. Pennsylvania ranked 8th out of 50 states in the total number of AIDS diagnoses in 2008. The rate of HIV infection in Philadelphia is five times the national average.