Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Three Days of Rain, Penfold Theatre Company at the Hideout Theatre, September 17 - October 3

This play by Penfold Theatre is a gem. Coming after their play The Last Five Years in January of this year, it confirms that the Penfold company has a vision and a talent for choosing and staging pieces that fit it.

Richard Greenberg's Three Days of Rain might just as well have been titled Two Generations or Hopes and Enigmas, because those three days are mentioned only in a scribbled note in a diary. They become emblematic after the death of the man who wrote them, a famous and successful New York architect, when his children realize that those were the same three days of a family catastrophe from which they have never recovered.

Through the grace of theatre we discover this story in displaced time -- somewhat as was the case in The Last Five Years. Here, the voyage is in only two steps. The first act occurs in a disused apartment in 1995. Walker and Nan, a brother and sister in their early 30s, meet there before the reading of their father's will. They encounter their childhood friend Pip, the son of their father's partner. The second act gives us their parents at the same age -- two aspiring male architects Ned and Theo, and Lila, the woman who became the mother of Walker and Nan.

Greenberg's text is rich in image and imagination. He creates a small world of gifted but vulnerable and uncertain characters in both generations. The younger ones are backward looking, seeking explanations; the older generation, in act two, strives with anxiety and apprehension toward the future. Greenberg gives us the elements of a solution, but in such a way as to remind us that there is really no single simple story or solution for the thirty-five years of events separating these scenes. Causes are inchoate; personal history arises amidst unexpected events; we are left to formulate our own explanations and myths.

Read more at AustinLiveTheatre.com . . . .

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