Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

April 2, 2011

A Steady Rain

TheaterWorks, Hartford, MA
through May 8, 2011
by Stacie Beland & Mark Axelson

Aaron Roman Weiner & Kyle Fabel
It is a rare feat, indeed, when one can be treated to theatre that is so raw, so visceral that the characters and their stories stay with you for hours after you've left the venue. Such is the case with "Steady Rain." The production is bare-bones, driven entirely by its two actors, Kyle Fabel (Joey) and Aaron Roman Weiner (Denny). Fabel and Weiner brilliantly bring (and, sometimes, push) the audience through a tale of morality, dedication, love, and loyalty. At an hour and a half with no intermission, the actors grab the theatregoers' attention from the moment they start speaking until the story reaches its ultimate, devastating conclusion. One scarcely has time to breathe as the rapid-fire pace of the dialogue, coupled with the brilliant sound design of J. Hagenbuckle, batter the senses.

Joey and Denny are police officers who have been friends all of their lives and, more recently, have been repeatedly turned down for Detective badges. Both characters are inherently flawed-they tell their stories with unflinching honesty. What's troubling is that as self-destructive as Denny is and as damaged as Joey is, they can't be hated, despite their actions often ranging far into the category of hateful. They're very human. It is painfully easy to see what drives them to the end of their story.

In a production such as this, there is a lot of storytelling responsibility for the actors. Fabel and Weiner are more than up to the task. As Joey and Denny, they describe their weavings through morality and immorality directly to the audience, only occasionally acknowledging the other actor. They hurl images, written with such exacting language that the audience has no choice but to visualize what Joey and Denny have experienced. Under the expert direction of Tazewell Thompson, who has masterfully choreographed the pace and the movement behind the words, the actors are brutally authentic. The production feels all too real. Thompson is to be congratulated - this is a show that relies heavily on human dynamic which is largely open to directorial interpretation. He delivers perfection.