Quantum takes leap with dream time

By Larissa Gula

In 90 minutes, Quantum Theater will take its audience through 90 years of two fictional families’ histories. “When The Rain Stops Falling”

Oct. 28 to Nov. 21

Directed by Martin Giles

Iron City Brewery, down Sassafras Street; map available on the brewery’s website


A limited number of $16 student tickets are available for select performances with valid ID.


In 90 minutes, Quantum Theatre will take its audience through 90 years of two fictional families’ histories.

Known for taking theatrical shows out of a normal theater setting, Quantum Theatre will present “When the Rain Stops Falling” by Andrew Bovell in a warehouse near the Iron City Brewery. It’s located in what director Martin Giles jokingly described as “some weird place down in the bowels of Bloomfield.”

Though he has acted with various groups in Pittsburgh, Giles came onto the project as a director because of the way he could visualize the show while reading the play’s script.

“I was reading it, and I was seeing it,” he said.

The show follows seven people and several generations from the 1950s through to the future of 2039. Two families pass down “the follies and pain of the previous generation to the next,” and they go through their lives, Giles said.

Even though the approach goes beyond ordinary theater, “When The Rain Stops Falling” itself is a very typical, beautiful play, he said.

“It’s not a bizarre, radical thing,” he said. “It’s beautiful and sad, and the ending is slightly uplifting because it says we can change if we become aware enough, and we’re kind enough.”

“The interesting thing is [the writer] makes everything happen at the same time,” Giles said. “He’s Australian and knows about dream time, the idea of how the past is always present. The generations of the family, you see their stories and how they overlap.”

This means that there are moments where the audience can see two moments in time at once and how one affects the other. The show also examines how the actions of the people affect the world overall.

“The other part of the idea is that what you do makes the world,” Giles said. “If we continue to behave badly and not treat each other well, we’re destroying the world. Every interpersonal reaction affects the world and its stability.”

The show is an interpersonal and global commentary rather than a political one, according to artistic director and Quantum Theatre founder Karla Boos.

“The play is interesting for younger people,” Boos said. “There are amazing young characters who are at moments in their life where things could go one way or another. They can’t completely control their destiny since things with their ancestors come into play in their lives. It’s an interesting aspect: It’s community.

“You see how they are eventually able to move forward from a chain that seems present in their lives. Somebody in 2039 changes this course. The play ends on a wonderful note that’s about change.”

Giles has overseen construction of the set and taken part in the evolving vision of the show from the beginning. With Quantum Theatre, the set of the play is as important as the show itself, Boos said.

“In general, we feel there’s something about how an audience experiences the play that is an active contributor to what they get from it,” Boos said. “So we choose the site that lets us use something specific for that experience. This play has two things. It has a personal story of a family over generations, and that’s huge the way any personal story is huge. And the play has ideas that have to do with the environment and how people relate to the planet. We wanted this play in a giant place so we could reference these issues.”

The facility offers the chance for large props and backgrounds as well as massive projections of night skies over the audience.

Running the show outside of a theater is not simple. The directors are in charge of simple things like heating, and as Pittsburgh gets chillier, it’s just one more thing to keep an eye on, Boos said.

“We wouldn’t do this if we didn’t believe in the art,” Boos said. “It is much more difficult and expensive than normal theater.”

On the other hand, after 20 years in this business, Boos describes the crew as veterans and experts in the craft.

“Now we know what the questions to ask are,” Boos said about setting up. “The first shows weren’t so ambitious. We once wouldn’t have dreamed of putting things like this on. But that’s the evolution of good artists.”