Written by Keith Huff
Directed by John Kirby
Upon entering the John Kirby Studio located in the heart of Hollywood, I got the exciting sense of intimacy only a small theatre can supply.
I was greeted by a stage that had a partial wall with a small table and two short stools upstage, a row of four grey lockers stage left, two chairs downstage, and stage right was a wall with four framed pictures and a door. I bring this up only to emphasize that what I was about to see would bring me right in the middle of a maelstrom and that the ordered and simple structure of the stage gave no indication of the high level of drama to come.
"A Steady Rain" opens with two men sitting side by side on the downstage chairs. The energy and rat-tat-tat energy of the crisp, cutting dialogue immediately got my attention and held it all the way through to the curtain call. The play written by Keith Huff had a successful Broadway run in 2009 and this latest production is a Hollywood Fringe extension due to their sold out houses. I can see why the play was such a success, it is extremely clever and full of gritty life. The moral dilemma faced by the two characters in the play, two Chicago police officers, played expertly and passionately by R.J. DeBard and Andy Hoff, takes us on an emotional ride filled with violence, revenge, loyalty and betrayal. Each of these punctuated with the kind of precision and timing that makes the audience feel as if we are actually in the room with these men. We have the director John Kirby to thank for the pacing, blocking, and for bringing such fine performances from these two talented actors. The set design by Mike Flannery was exactly what was needed to tell the story, not to much, not too little. Special mention to the lighting design by Donny Jackson, the sound design by Aaron Lyons and the projection design by Nick Santiago. This dream team should also include the producers Nathan Nesbitt and Andy Hoff.
Not knowing anything of this play nor really knowing what it was about really contributed to the enjoyment of what I saw, heard and experienced. But by the end of the night I felt like I knew these two cops and was really invested in their journey.
We really don't know what the men in blue have to go through on a daily basis just to protect and serve their communities. They have families and dreams, faults and desires, and sometimes they make mistakes. They are human, as are we. As I walked out of the theatre, I thought to myself, would I have made the same decisions as these two police officers? Perhaps not, but one thing is for sure, I walked away from this play with a much better understanding and compassion for the men and women that wear the blue.
I highly recommend “A Steady Rain” at the John Kirby Studio, take full advantage of this Fringe extension.
Friday, July 14th - Sunday, July 30th
Fridays & Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 7pm
Starring RJ DeBard and Andy Hoff
Scenic Design by Mike Flannery
Lighting Design by Donny Jackson
Sound Design by Aaron Lyons
Produced by Andy Hoff and Nathan Nesbitt