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Stark A Steady Rain to showcase complex characterization, dialogue

Stark A Steady Rain to showcase complex characterization, dialogue

By Victoria Ungvarsky

The stage is empty except for two black chairs. Two fluorescent lights hanging above them provide the majority of the light throughout the piece. Only two actors perform on the stage throughout the show, weaving together the chemistry of their friendship and their individual inner monologues.

The minimalist nature of the set only serves to heighten the intensity of this haunting production of Keith Huff’s A Steady Rain, the senior thesis production of Aaron Lynn ’14 and Ben Kress ’14 .

Although the design is simple, the story is anything but. A Steady Rain chronicles the relationship between two Chicago cops ラ best friends since kindergarten ラ as they confront the aftermath of a gruesome mistake.

The story is written as a “duo-logue,” a series of monologues intermixed with interactions between the characters. This method brings to life the gritty violence of their lives on the street, but also establishes the complexity of their relationship.

“It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Lynn, who plays Denny, said. “I’ve never played a role like this.”

Ben Kress ’14, who plays Joey, agreed. “We’ve done a lot of work. They’re incredibly complex characters. The play is essentially about their relationship ナ and what happens to it.”

Building this production was no easy task. Kress and Lynn only became partners after Lynn’s first thesis partner fell through. The two friends both wanted to act for their senior thesis, so they began to search for the right play for their talents.

“The general idea is you read a bunch of plays [and] pick something you like,” Lynn said. “Our advisor, [Assistant Professor of Drama] Ben Viccellio, had suggested this to me. And we both took a look at it, and we both really liked it.”

The two seniors have worked closely alongside Viccellio throughout this process. “We’re used to [Viccellio] leading us in discussions about plays that he’s thought about and worked with over the years,” Lynn said. “But this is a play that he’s discovering with us. He’s dedicated to this too and it’s cool to explore the story with us.”

At its core, A Steady Rain has been a cooperative process. Director Emma Miller ’15 admits this has been an enriching and difficult show to work on. “It’s just the two of them; it’s a very collaborative show. More collaborative than anything I’ve ever done,” Miller said. “I think that it has challenged me because it’s not a typical show; the structure isn’t typical. So it has made me question how I approach the piece.”

“Emma is phenomenal,” Lynn said. “She’s incredible. She’s put so much work in to this thing. That’s what’s so great. She’s a junior. And she put in so much effort in to our thesis.”

Now in its final rehearsals, Kress and Lynn are putting the finishing touches on A Steady Rain. This one-act show, which runs a little over an hour, maximizes the bare bones set to heighten the power of the unfolding action on stage. “It’s a simple production. But we have a great crew, great lights and great costumes,” Kress said.

The two seniors hope the audience can share in the intensity of the production. “It’s hopefully an exciting and rewarding time [for the audience],” Kress said.

“I think people are really going to get something out of it,” Lynn added.

A Steady Rain will be performed Friday, Nov. 8 and Saturday, Nov. 9 at 8 p.m. in the Hill Theater.

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