Play explores testing loyalty among friends
Steve O’Connell (left) and Aiden Flynn star in “A Steady Rain,” directed by Petrina Bromley and running at the Barbara Barrett Theatre in the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre this week. — Submitted photo
With a set that consists only of two chairs and a couple of spotlights, local actors Aiden Flynn and Steve O’Connell let the script speak for itself in their latest production, “A Steady Rain.”
Under the direction of Petrina Bromley and with impeccable Chicago accents, Flynn and O’Connell star in the play as Denny and Joey, a pair of cops and longtime friends, haunted by their individual demons. One is lonely and in love with the other one’s wife; the other cheats on her with a prostitute. In a plotline similar to a real-life event involving serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer not long before his arrest, Denny and Joey attend a domestic disturbance call and return a young boy to a man who says he’s his uncle; he turns out to be a canabalistic killer and the boy ends up dead.
Written by Keith Huff, who currently writes for the AMC TV series “Mad Men,” “A Steady Rain” was first produced in Chicago in 2007 and opened on Broadway two years later, starring Hugh Jackman as Denny and Daniel Craig as Joey. It was in New York that Bromley first heard of the play, and later ordered it, to read.
“The writing is that kind of dream script you don’t get very often,” she said. “I knew it was the kind of stuff Aiden and Steve would really devour.”
Bromley, who previously worked with Flynn and O’Connell on 2005’s “Stones in his Pockets” and “The Woman in Black” in 2009, had been looking for another play the trio could work on together.
“There’s a rapport you get with people you’ve known for a long period of time — it’s like we had already been rehearsing for weeks,” Bromley said. “The boys have very, very different styles when it comes to their ways of learning and developing characters, and it’s fun for me to sit there and try to coax it out of them.”
Ultimately, Bromley said, the play is about male friendships, loyalty, and the testing that happens between friends when times get tough.
“It’s a really beautiful way to explore the relationship between two people,” she said of the storyline. “Whose fault is it? Does one of you or do two of you take the blame?”
“A Steady Rain” opens at the Barbara Barrett Theatre in the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre tonight and runs until Sunday, with a pay-what-you-can matinee Sunday afternoon. Tickets are $30 and are available by calling 729-3900 or online at www.artsandculturecentre.com. The play contains strong language and mature content.