Three Days of Rain
28/07/2007 - 25/08/2007
written by Richard Greenberg
directed by Shane Bosher
The Pulitzer Prize nominated play which launched Academy award winner Julia Roberts’ theatrical career comes to Silo Theatre on July 28 as Tandi Wright steps into the Hollywood starlet’s role for Richard Greenberg’s THREE DAYS OF RAIN.
A brother, his sister and their childhood friend gather to divide the estate of their late fathers. Both were longtime friends and partners in architecture; their legacy is the brilliant Janeway House, a daring and much-celebrated icon of American design. But who was the provocateur, and who the follower?
In this tense and brittle reunion, the children are offered a lesson in perspective – and not just of the architectural kind. When their father’s diary is discovered, the siblings use it as a tool to unlock the relationships between the two men and the women in their lives, decades before.
Multi-award winning actress Tandi Wright was last seen onstage in Michael Hurst’s
Twelfth Night for Auckland Theatre Company, and makes her Silo Theatre debut in the challenging dual roles of Nan and Lina – playing the sister in Act One, and after interval as her mother thirty-five years before. Theatrics aside, Wright is also widely known for her high profile television and film roles that include Shortland Streets Caroline Buxton, Dr. Rush in the 2006 comedy-horror Black Sheep as well as real-life survivor Julie-Anne Bryson in the emotional retelling of the Aramoana massacre in Out Of The Blue, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in the same year.
Three Days of Rain became one of most hyped Broadway productions of 2006 with a cast boasting some of the hottest names in North America; Frat Pack member and star of The 40 Year Old Virgin Paul Rudd, Alias actor Bradley Cooper and Hollywood star Julia Roberts. Three Days of Rain premiered off Broadway in 1997, and as Greenberg’s stock in the industry rose, so did the demand from both audiences and actors to get involved in Greenburg’s urbane take on the nature of inheritance and the peril of interpreting the past.
Greenberg’s accolades include a stack of awards for his homage to American baseball Take Me Out which played to capacity attendance and critical acclaim at Silo Theatre last year. Richard Greenberg was the most-produced contemporary dramatist in America last year.
Glen Drake (that hilarious guy from the ferret.co.nz advertising campaign; Up For Grabs) and Eryn Wilson (The Tutor; The Jungle) join Tandi Wright on stage for this beautiful portrayal of how history collides with the human heart. Led by Silo Theatre director Shane Bosher, Three Days of Rain is sure to deliver a downpour of theatrical brilliance.
“The sins of the fathers (and mothers) make for bittersweet elegy in ‘Three Days of Rain’, Richard Greenberg’s poignant unsettling new play…it demonstrates in heartbreaking detail how little we know about the people who most shape our lives “
Glen Drake as Pip/Theo
Eryn Wilson as Walker/Ned
Tandi Wright as Nan/Lina
set designed by John Verryt
costumes designed by Elizabeth Whiting
lighting designed by Jeremy Fern
sound designed by Jason Smith
Acerbic dialogue and colourful performances
Review by Sian Robertson 30th Jul 2007
Walker and Nan, a brother and sister, come together to divide up the estate of their architect father, with Philip (Pip), a childhood friend and the son of their father’s partner. Ned’s death brings them together from very separate lives, dredges up old rivalries and uncovers unexpected truths. In the first half, between bluntly expressed family grievances and explosive altercations, succinct soliloquies from all three fill us in on the family history.
The main bone of contention is: who is going to get Janeway House, the famous icon of modern architecture designed by their fathers, which was also the family home and a symbolic anchor for Walker.
The truth starts to unravel at the reading of the will and the discovery of a sparsely written diary. A depressive loner intent on dredging up the past, Walker disparages his father’s journal writing as being without style, reading like a weather report, yet he can’t put it down, eventually stumbling across the innocuous entry that proves his point: "April 3 – April 5. Three days of rain."
Walker wants to dwell on the past, Nan wants to get back home to her kids, Pip doesn’t care much for the house but wants them all to part on a good note. Sparks fly – and little is resolved.
In the second half of the play the trio of actors become the parents, some thirty-five years earlier (1960), revealing what happened during those three days of rain.
Clever, poignant dialogue reveals a depth to the characters’ thoughts and deep-seated emotions, and the play is skilfully structured, superimposing the two triads to alternately obscure and reveal the facts of the past and how they affect the present.
The story is less about the contents of the will and the distribution of the inheritance – none of the inheritors are out to fleece each other – and more about uncovering what kind of people their parents were and what events lead to the present predicament. However, what’s frustrating is that, because of the superficiality of the journal, the younger generation never find out the small but significant twists of fate that occurred for three* of their parents during those three days of rain and changed the course of their lives.
There are many winning moments in the play: the characters’ poignant observations of themselves and each other: incidental reflections on the beautiful details of life; the arguments between them, especially Walker and Pip’s and conversely their fathers’; sparkling crescendos of conversational rivalry.
Having the same 3 actors play both generations is essential for the overall effect of the play. There’s very little to differentiate the characters, except for slightly different hairstyles and polo neck sweaters. But it gives the feel of history repeating itself, demonstrating how unavoidably the lives of these people have been shaped by their parents, even though they hardly knew them – or perhaps because of this ignorance.
Eryn Wilson is captivating as the over-analytical reclusive brother, and the most life-like character in the first half of the play. Somewhat starched as Nan, Tandi Wright comes into her own in the second half of the play as their mother Lina, the brash and loquacious, but by no means dense, southern belle. Glen Drake, as Pip, and then his father Theo, gets to play the annoying, emotionally shallow characters (though Pip laments astutely, if you’re happy all the time people assume you’re stupid). Although Walker is morose and narcissistic, he’s got a witty charm about him, in contrast with his stuttering, unassuming father, Ned (also played by Wilson), apparently the less talented of the two architects.
All the characters are likeable, in spite of their irritatingly stubborn attitudes – thanks to Richard Greenberg’s acerbic dialogue and the colourful performances from the cast.
*Pip’s mother is obviously superfluous to the story, but it seems odd that there’s not one mention of her in the entire play, considering how it focuses so keenly on the effects of the parents’ lives on their children.
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