Broadway: A Steady Rain Has A Dry Spell

We were close enough for Hugh Jackman to perspire on my wife, which pretty much made her night. The house was packed, though the play doesn’t officially open until Tuesday.

Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman in A Steady Rain are alone together on stage all night, and they are formidable actors. Aside from some very minor mood music and an occasional lighting change against the backdrop, they use only two chairs to tell the story of two cops headed in two directions. While it is 90 minutes of an acting class, it’s not 90 minutes of riveting theater. The plot is obvious, the events expected (though some of the audience gasped at a line you could see approaching you from a mile away), and the ending utterly predictable. It was instructional to see these two guys in a tour de force for over an hour, sustaining energy and pathos, but by the end the energy is exhausting and the pathos becomes bathos. I don’t attend the theater for instruction, but for emotional involvement, suspense, and excitement.

It’s worth seeing Jackman and Craig, but after this and Carnage of the Gods I’m wondering if there’s anybody left who can write compelling drama for the stage, or if we’re just putting actors from other media up there to draw in the crowds. Where’s Arthur Miller when you need him?

© Alan Weiss 2009. All rights reserved.

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