In the engrossing Arena Player's production of Keith Huff's A Steady Rain, it only takes one summer for the friendship of Joe and Denny to unravel. Friends since kindergarten and part of the same police force, the two could not be any more different – Denny prides himself on being a family man while Joe is single and has an addiction to alcohol. Denny is the bolder one, while Joe is more of an observer. But while the two have helped each other through their lowest points, a series of disagreements begin to crack the surface of their friendship and completely alter their lives.
Smartly directed by Frederic De Feis, A Steady Rain is being performed at the Vanderbilt Carriage House Theater until March 25th. Essentially a black box theater, the focus of this particular work is on John Leone as Denny and Christopher Tyrkko as Joe – as a team these two strong performers bring much power and intensity to this intimate space. They impressively touch upon the tension and humor of their lives, whether they are talking to the audience or interacting with one another.
Much happens during the course of A Steady Rain. But the pacing in this particular production is so on target, especially as the heavier moments make way for the even more suspenseful. Logic is turned on its head and the audience is given a glimpse into the dangerous actions of one of these men, and the choices the other must make because of it. Leone and Tyrkko have quite the chemistry, no matter how destructive it might be. As the play continues and reaches many surprising developments, the two morph more and more into these characters to the point they are almost unrecognizable as the men the audience initially meet.
Despite the weaknesses in Denny and Joe's friendship, things come to a head when the two are out covering the streets one evening and come across a frightened Vietnamese boy. Because neither of them speaking the language, the two are confused by his behavior and hand him over to a man who claims to be his uncle. Soon after, they find out the "uncle" is actually a serial killer who end up murdering the young boy they could have saved. Denny and Joe find themselves on opposite sides of this situation. Multiple scenes from the beginning of the play begin to fit together, and Denny's family, the jobs of the two, and the future of their friendship is at stake.
As Joe remarks later, life is more than a simple and pretty picture. To the very end, Leone and Trykko give stirring and fiery performances in this hard-hitting production of A Steady Rain. It proves to be a powerful, moving drama that relies on strong writing, acting, and directing without the need for props, complex set, or distractions.
The Arena Players Repertory Theater Company's presentation of A Steady Rain is playing on select days through March 25 at the Vanderbilt Carriage House Theater. For more information, please visit their website at http://www.arenaplayers.org/ or find them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ArenaPlayers.