‘A Steady Rain’ at The Albany Barn

Something dark and powerful is happening at The Albany Barn this week, as ‘A Steady Rain’ brings a powerful jolt of serious drama to the Capital Region. Starring local luminaries Aaron Holbritter and Ian LaChance, and directed by Casey Polomaine, this exciting production marks the debut effort of the Creative License theater company. Their mission is a noble one:

We are here to open your eyes. To help you see the world in new and unexpected ways.

We are here to the everything that you know about theatre and turn it upside down.

We are here to prove that heart, soul, and imagination can take you far. That they should not be underestimated.

We are here to push boundaries. We are here to create. We are Creative License.

In conjunction with the Albany Barn, it is a worthy endeavor that is breathing new life into Albany’s theater scene, and though it’s an ambitious undertaking, this is the sort of play that lends itself to such lofty goal. It’s not about fancy sets or expensive production costs, it’s about the drama conjured by the actors and the material. Thankfully both of those are in ample supply.

Written by Keith Huff and last seen on Broadway in 2009 with Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig, ‘A Steady Rain’ is gritty and somber fare, set to sparkling life by the actors in charge. In this case, Mr. Holbritter as Denny and Mr. LaChance as Joey form the two pillars around and within which the world crumbles. It is a dim world, an ever-encroaching world, where layers of death and despair continually descend, like the titular rain that forms the backdrop to the entire evening.

This is a violent play, but it’s a violence of words, a violence of stories – and while dismally bleak at times, it never fails to be anything but compelling, held together by the riveting work of its two leads. Holbritter brings a gruff but likable brittleness to his bullish, blindsided Denny, whose life unravels in a series of grim incidents and choices that are either willfully wrong or unluckily damning. As Joey, LaChance has a slightly less meaty role, but his past is shaded with darker recesses, even if he ultimately gets the greatest shot at redemption. Neither character is particularly lovable, but they are believable in their justifications for their actions, and that makes for great theater. We have to believe the stories we tell ourselves if we are to plausibly get anyone else to believe them. ‘A Steady Rain’ is such storytelling at its best, and the Creative License company is off to a promising start.

{Performances take place at The Albany Barn on November 6-8 and 13-15 at 7:30 PM.}

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