The Little Theatre
3rd February 2016
How well do we really know our parents? They bring us into the world and forge a permanent imprint on our lives – for good or bad. Yet, despite their influence they remain almost strangers to us outside of their generic role as ‘mum’ or ‘dad’, and it’s hard to believe that they once had a life that existed outside of our own. These ideas take centre stage as preconceptions, fractured relationships and long kept secrets collide in Pip Nixon’s production of Richard Greenberg’s play which explores the complexities of familial bonds across the generations.
Unstable wanderer, Walker, returns to Manhattan following his disappearance after his father, the famous architect, Ned Janeway’s funeral. Visiting the abandoned studio in which his father and business partner, Theo, once worked, Walker intends to unearth the truth behind his dysfunctional upbringing in a post-mortem reconciliation between parent and child. The dilapidated apartment set of Act 1 creates a sense of intrigue in the lives that once occupied it, the ruinous visage artfully reflecting the psychological and social wreckage left behind.
Symmetry and contradiction are touchingly realised in the regression of Act 2, as the jigsaw of jagged memories, enigmatic stories and telling omissions are rearranged and slotted back together to reveal a completed family portrait. Motif, gesture and sound reverberate between acts and the reflections of the characters with their predecessors is neatly drawn. The trio of actors, impressive in dual roles as both parent and child, hold the stage wonderfully, drawing forth the weight of what goes unspoken in still moments and wise-cracking with great comic timing.
Three Days of Rain is a wonderful, subtly crafted balance of character and plot. Greenberg’s skill lies in making us care about these characters without hammering home a ‘message’ or nauseating sentiment; he lets the characters speak for themselves. This production succeeds in contemplating the stronghold exercised on the present by the past and the delicate, ephemeral nature of life and the enduring influence we have upon those lives we touch.
Three Days of Rain runs until Saturday 6th February.