“The Rainmaker” – First Folio Theatre

 

By  N. Richard NashFirst-Folio theatre

Director: Alison C. Vesely

 Cast:

Lizzie Curry:  Hayley L. Rice

Starbuck: Joseph Wycoff

File:  Aaron Christensen

Noah Curry:  Mathew Keffer

H.C. Curry:  David Rice

Jimmy Curry:  Alex Weisman

Sheriff Thomas: Rene Ruelas

  Change through Truth

 First Folio Theatre’s first production of the 2013/2014 season, “The Rainmaker”, begins in the lush green outdoors of the Mayslake Estate, a distinct contrast to the setting of the drought stricken setting of the play during the 1930’s Depression.  Yet somehow the open fields around the stage seemed to add to the ambiance of acres of farmland setting of the play.

First-Folio theatre

 The masterful playwright, N. Richard Nash, distinguishes each character by spot-on dialogue, which quickly identifies the naïve, the righteous, the dreamer, the wise, the fraud, and the lead character, Lizzi; who suffers with low self esteem from her spinster status.  In less capable hands than the astute director, Alison C. Vesely, this play would not be believable.  Instead, Vesely has selected the perfect cast, and each talent nails their character’s moments of reckoning.  You could almost hear the sighs in the audience, and certainly many laughs.

First-Folio theatre

 After thoroughly enjoying “The Rainmaker”, I am anxious to retrieve the 1956 movie based on this play, starring Burt Lancaster and Katharine Hepburn. The play has been translated into over 40 languages and made into a Broadway musical entitled, “110 in the Shade”.

 Expect a slightly slow beginning, but once the actors define their characters, this play makes you laugh, feel, think, and enjoy.  The Rainmaker, Starbuck,. played by Joseph Wycoff, glides through his scenes smoothly with his slick con.  His stage presence and movements are as melodious as his words.  The daughter, Lizzi (Hayley L. Rice), very comfortably and convincingly projects three personas.  I do not know David Rice’s full biography, but he truly is at home in the role of the farmer and father of the family.  And, Alex Weisman as the youngest brother adds brilliantly to the humor in the whole play.

First-Folio theatre

The characters speak of truth and of holding back the truth.  They take you inside safety with its attendant problems, but also show you what can happen if you take a chance.  The Rainmaker encompasses reality, dreams, heartache and the interplay of human beings in their everyday lives. Though written about sixty years ago, as I watched the resolution of conflicts, it seems this play could be especially relevant for the texting crowd with their little boxes.  The Rainmaker demands that the characters speak and listen to one another, and in listening to their discoveries, we can discover more about ourselves. 

 “The Rainmaker” offers a totally complete play with its story, truly individual characters, and its very honest and beautifully timed performances by a fine cadre of actors.  The fast smooth-talking Rainmaker changes the dynamic of this tight little family during hard times.   He helps change the self image of several of the main characters.  Does he change the weather and bring rain…you will have to see this heartfelt show to find out!

 HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

 Margaret Eva

Date Reviewed:  August 3, 2013

 Jeff Recommended

Performances:   Current through Sept 1, 2013.   Wednesdays – Sundays at 8:15 p.m.
Tickets -$30 to $37.  Call the box office at 630-986-8067 or purchase on line at                          www.firstfolio.org

Get Directions

  show options