by Tara Fitzpatrick
Taking a former Broadway play and adapting it for a smaller stage space with a Scottish audience is tricky. There is the problem of dialect as the play in question, A Steady Rain by writer Keith Huff (of House of Cards and Mad Men), chronicles the brotherly relationship between two Chicago cops with thick, fast paced accents to boot. Then there is the issue of staging, the original script having detailed stage direction and large scale production.
Thankfully Theatre Jezebel’s performance jumps both of these hurdles.
A simplistic set, designed by Kenny Miller, features two long tables and four chairs with filled buckets of water aligning the front and back of the stage. Dialogue may be heavy here by setting is not and this mirrors the stillness of the two actors who pause frequently and maintain a slow-paced dramaturgy throughout the performance. Movement is economical and this is a play unafraid of silence, despite the text dominated complexity of the narrative.
Partly based upon a police relation to real-life murderer Jeffery Dahmer, A Steady Rain, explores how a serial killer close to home pushes the friendship of long-term partners Denny and Joey to breaking point. Moralities clash with loyalties and mistakes are articulated in a confessional manner as the characters look back in hindsight at the destruction of both their professional and personal spheres. The play is climatic while maintaining the stillness it carries throughout with music, provided by Ross Brown, working to punctuate the drama and emphasise scene change.
A Steady Rain does not spoon-feed its audience. Huff’s script is full and content heavy from the beginning yet the simplicity of the staging provides the perfect paradox creating an atmosphere where the dialogue can dominate the focus from the beginning.