Actors Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman famously tackled Keith Huff’s “A Steady Rain” on Broadway a few years ago; now it’s Brett Nichols’ and David Richey’s turn.
“A Steady Rain” is a 90-minute play that, through conversation between two Chicago cops who are best friends, touches on a psycho killer, torture, car chases, and illicit sex.
“It’s in your face, kind of edgy,” said Nichols, a retired police officer.
But the plot is more twisted than anything Nichols faced on the job.
“Joey” and “Denny” have been best friends for years, but their relationship is complicated. Denny is a racist who cheats on his wife with a prostitute on their beat, while Joey has a drinking problem and is in love with Denny’s wife.
The two come into conflict with one another and their superiors after they chase a pimp who shot into Denny’s house, injuring his son. Along the way they return a scared Vietnamese boy to his uncle, with tragic results. In relating the events the two confront scary truths about one another and themselves.
The two characters sometimes interact, but much of the play consists of monologues. The audience must decide who the characters are addressing, whether one another, their superiors, or the audience itself.
Director Nichole Case says the sparse props and the studio’s intimacy presented challenges.
“There are no bells or whistles, no costumes, no dramatic sets,” she said, adding that the props consist of a table and two chairs. “There’s not a lot of action on stage.”
Seating is nearly in the round, which Case says occasionally puts the actors’ backs to the audience.
However, Case says the strength of the show is in the writing and the actors.
“The actors are phenomenal,” she said. When it premiered on Broadway with Craig and Jackman, “A Steady Rain” broke the record for the highest weekly gross of a non-musical production on Broadway.
“It’s a great show,” Nichols said. “It’s got layers.”
Performances of “A Steady Rain” are April 4-5, 10-13, 17-19, and 26. The Old Town Playhouse’s Studio Theatre is located at 620 Railroad Place on the corner of E. Eighth St. and Woodmere Ave. For tickets, visit oldtownplayhouse.com or mynorthtickets.com.