People's Light Opens 2013-14 Season with THE RAINMAKER, Now thru 10/13
People's Light & Theatre presents N. Richard Nash's The Rainmaker running tonight, September 18-October 13, 2013 on the Leonard C. Haas Stage. AbiGail Adams directs. People's Light & Theatre is located at 39 Conestoga Road, Malvern, PA 19355. For tickets call 610.644.3500 or visit PeoplesLight.org.
People's Light and Theatre Company opens its 2013-14 season with a sweet note of romance in N. Richard Nash's The Rainmaker. This heartfelt classic is set in 1936 during the late summer in the sweeping landscape of Western Iowa at a time of drought. Cattle are "down and out" on the Curry ranch and temperatures are a stifling 104 degrees at night. As the relentless sun scorches the grasses' verdure and desperation creeps into the characters' lives, a young woman's search for love begins when a picaresque stranger with a "mellifluous tongue" enters and claims that he can bring rain.
Nash, who was born and raised in South Philadelphia, conceived the play after a trip through the drought-ridden Southwest during the summer of 1951. He met a dirt-covered eight-year-old boy at a filling station who was clutching a long, forked stick. It hadn't rained in a long time. Nash noticed that the boy shook the stick at the sky every few minutes. When he asked what the stick was for, the boy simply answered, "Rain."
Nash writes that although the play is set in a "drought-beset region" where "dying is a palpable thing...it must never be forgotten that it is a romance." Artistic Director AbiGail Adams, who also directs this production, explains that "although we're in the midst of a drought, we're not in the poverty-stricken starkness and despair of Steinbeck-country." The Rainmaker is titled after its provocative eccentric character, Bill Starbuck, who arrives as the land and livestock, as well as the hopes and dreams of the characters, are faltering. His bold exuberance infuses the world with a kind of magic that opens minds and hearts, especially those of the play's singular female Lizzie Curry, to envision new possibilities. Therefore, Starbuck's promise to conjure life-bringing rain also becomes an offer to restore the vitality of those suffering from both ecological and personal drought. The challenge for those that have relied on proven routines and established principles is to yield to the belief that such things are possible.
Long-time People's Light company members (Kevin Bergen, Mark Lazar, Pete Pryor, and Graham Smith) and visiting artists (John Jarboe, Nancy McNulty, and Michael Sharon) have been gathered together to tell this story of family, faith, vulnerability, hope, and love. During these lean times when we've tightened our budgets and our belts, this play is an uplifting and heartwarming celebration of unexpected self-discovery, renewal, and growth.
The creative team includes Wilson Chin (Scenic Design), Terese Wadden (Costume Design), Dennis Parichy (Lighting Design), Samantha Bellomo (Fight Choreographer), Christopher Colucci (Original Music & Sound Design), Lee Devin (Dramaturg), Gina Pisasale (Dramaturg), and Audrey M. Brown (Stage Manager).
The Rainmaker previews on Wednesday, September 18 and Thursday, September 19 at 7:30 pm and Friday, September 20 at 8 pm. The play opens on Saturday, September 21 and runs through Sunday, October 13. Audiences are encouraged to join the artists for a conversation about the production after the Thursday performances on September 26, and October 3 & 10, 2013.
People's Light continues its program called Scoop on Sundays: History, Context, and Gossip, a lively discussion before every Sunday 7 pm performance (September 22, October 6 & 13). Resident Dramaturg Gina Pisasale will host an artist from the production and get the inside scoop about such things as the rehearsal and production process, design choices, and the world of the play. The program begins at 5:30 in The Farmhouse Bistro. Cost of $15 includes light fare. Call the Box Office at 610.644.3500.