By Richard Greenberg
Directed by Matthew Reeder
Produced by BackStage Theatre Company
At the Viaduct Theatre, Chicago
Richard Greenberg is a talented storyteller who loves to coin witty language into his complex characters. He as done just that with his engrossing Three Days of Rain now in a fine production at Chicago’s Viaduct theatre. We meet Walker (John Henry Roberts) the estranged and mentally impaired brother to Nan (Rebekah Ward-Hays) who meet a year after the death of their father. The two siblings must confront each other as well as settle their father’s estate. They meet in a warehouse loft space (set design by Brandon Wardell) where Walker has been living since his return from wondering throughout Italy. That space is where their father and his departed partner started their architecture firm in 1960.
When Pip (Tony Bozzuto)- Walker’s best friend and son of Walker’s father’s partner joins the two siblings, old memories kindle trouble. We learn about the complex relationship between the three that was strongly influenced by the father’s partnership. Walker finds a journal left by his father that is filled with hints an a reference to “the three days of rain” back in 1960.
The play flashes back to 1960 with Roberts becoming Ned, Bozzuto becoming Theo and Ward-Hays becoming Lina. The myth of Theo being the creative partner and Ned being simply a mechanic is questioned as the history of the partnership and the journal exposes a new look into long held beliefs. We see that we can’t ever really understand the lives of those who came before us.
This smart play is superbly acted as all three players have their moments. The only flaw in the production is the use of annoying background music in the first act that underscores the long monologues. The musical choices quickly became distractions that marred my concentration. I’d advise eliminating the music.
I was especially impressed with the work from John Henry Roberts who moved nimbly from a erratic neurotic to a shy, socially impaired nerd. This is a sad piece of inter-generational confusion as all the players are trying to understand how and why they are who they are by learning about their parents. They come to realize that they can only learn so much from the past and that they must move on with their lives. If you concentrate early on this wordy piece, it’ll deliver a worthy theatrical experience. Strong performances fuel the crafted story. This show is worth a look
Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast
Date Reviewed: May 23, 2011
At the Viaduct Theatre, 3111 N. Western Ave., Chicago, IL, call 773-296-6024, tickets $25, $22 seniors, students $10, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 7 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, running time is 2 hours, 20 minutes with intermission, through June 25, 2011