An American-influenced film noir style, A Handful of Rain was both visually stimulating and intellectually rewarding short play about the writing process and two of its greatest 20th Century artists.
Receiving uniformly rave reviews, and admired by such theatrical luminaries as Mike Leigh, Theatre de Complicite and Beeban Kidron (Director, Oranges are Not the Only Fruit), representatives of 5 theatre producers, S4C, BBC Four and even a German agency have expressed interest in developing or recreating the show for future productions. It seems likely that A Handful of Rain will be seen again...
Phil Bowenís new play, A Handful of Rain, imagined a meeting between Bob Dylan and Dylan Thomas - two legends of their respective fields of music and poetry. Originally seen in Swansea and for a short Edinburgh Festival run in 2001, the script had been through several convolutions. In January 2002, the producer Peter Gevisser of Uptrodden Productions, contacted Benet Catty following a recommendation from Mike Leigh. Benet agreed to come onboard to develop the play into a more dramatic form ready for its performance at Londonís long-established New End Theatre.
Through much radical rewriting, cutting and restructuring the play with Phil Bowen, Benet reconceived the play as taking place in the mind of Bob Dylan in the moment before he starts performing a concert.
The 45-minute play - which moves from Thomasí office, to a bar, to Dylanís dressing room, to a cinema, to the Chelsea Hotel and then back to the beginning again - sees the relationship of the two men move from mistrust and competition to interest, friendship and ultimately collaboration. The play concludes with Dylan imagining Thomas at his creative peak, reciting his new poem, Death Shall have no Dominion, as Dylan carries on with his concert and performs Knocking on Heavenís Door.
The production was greatly aided by a lighting design using beams and shadows reminiscent of the old movies the two writers both loved so much, and with an original score by composer Sam Sutton which blended the riff from Dylanís "Everything is Broken".