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By Pat Payne
Special to The PREVIEW
Even though we are almost midway through October a rain is about to hit Pagosa, “A Steady Rain.”
A new play by Keith Huff will be opening Oct. 12 at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts, presented by Thingamajig Theatre Company. This drama, about two Chicago cops, deals with questions of loyalty, friendship, trust and the thin blue line.
The author, Keith Huff, has an extensive career in both theatre and television, and might be best known for his work on the television series “Mad Men.”
“A Steady Rain” premiered on Broadway on Sept. 29, 2009, starring megastars Daniel Craig (James Bond) and Hugh Jackman (Wolverine). The play was warmly received by both audiences and critics alike.
Huff was inspired to write the show because his father in-law was a police commander in Chicago and he told Huff countless stories of moral quandaries faced by Chicago cops. One of the script’s strengths is how Huff portrays the two characters (Denny, played by Thingamajig’s artistic director Tim Moore, and Joey, played by New York Actor Craig Dolezel). He doesn’t make either character 100-percent good and the other 100-percent evil; they are human beings, with flaws and strengths just like everyone else, which makes them very appealing and relatable for audiences.
As mentioned, the two actors playing the cops are accomplished and experienced actors. Tim Moore was just seen in the company’s “Last 5 Years.” While Denny is a much different role than Jaime in “Last 5 Years,” Moore is excited about the opportunity to dive into such a deep character. Moore said, “Not often as an actor does one get to delve into a character with the journey of Denny. It is great to be able to find so many moments for this character to be right even when, to others, he might not be. It is also great to have such a great partner on stage.”
That partner is Craig Dolezel, a New York-based actor who has his M.F.A. from Rutgers University and who has appeared in off-Broadway and regional work throughout the Northeast. Dolezel is excited to be in Pagosa Springs. “The town is so beautiful, the people are so nice and the folks at Thingamajig are so welcoming, I love working with Tim and I look forward to being a part of this wonderful production.”
The production is directed by Denver-based director Pat Payne who was with Thingamajig last season for “The Lion in Winter.” Payne has had a busy year, mostly directing large scale musicals (“Assassins,” “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” “A Chorus Line”) and is excited to be directing this two-man play.
“It is such a treat to get to work on this play,” said Paynes. “Mr. Huff has given us such great dialogue and storytelling devices, the key to this show is simple is best.”
Laura Moore (Thingamajig’s producer) said of the choice to bring Payne in to head this production, “Pat understands rhythm and pace and does a masterful job in making this two man play move and creates a world for these two characters to tell their story in that will keep audiences on the edge of their seat.”
The staff is rounded out by Denver and regional lighting designer Jacob M. Welch who just did the lighting design for “Last 5 Years,” “Chicago” and “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” at Thingamajig. Payne calls Welch “a magician,” and says that the lights play an important part in telling the story.
“The lighting allows us to know where we are, since the play is told in a bit of a story-teller-like fashion in one moment and then a flashback in the next, it is important that the lighting helps visually cue the audience. Jacob has done an amazing job in taking a simple set of platforms and a table and allowing me to create the world the way I want the audience to see it,” Payne said.
By the time “A Steady Rain” opens on Friday, the cast will have been together for a grand total of seven days, with rehearsal days sometimes lasting 10-11 hours. The company will have all the finishing touches ready to go in order to take the audience on the ride of their life, a ride that will challenge them, make them question their own moral compass and will leave them breathless.
“A Steady Rain” opens Oct. 12 with a special Champagne Opening and continues its run Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through Oct. 28 at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts. It is rated R for graphic language and content.
Show tickets for opening night (doors open at 6 p.m.) are $25 in advance and $30 at the door and include a glass of champagne and hors d’oeuvres as well as a talk-back with the cast and crew after the show.
All other performances are $18 in advance and $25 at the door. Tickets can be purchased online at www.pagosacenter.org or by calling 731-SHOW.
“A Steady Rain” is the first of five shows of Thingamajig Theatre’s winter season. Season tickets for the winter season are on sale until Oct 12. Perks of being a season ticket holder include attending the Champagne Openings at no additional cost, the option to reserve your favorite seat, invitations to special events like the Wine and Cheese Open Rehearsal held last spring for “Chicago” and the ease of the onetime reservation process.
The following shows are also part of Thingamajig’s winter season: “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play,” “The Accounting Division of Dynacor Puts on Office Space, The Musical,” “Vagina Monologues,” and “Hidden: Stories of the Dutch Resistance.” There are three options for season tickets this year: the Five Show Pack, which includes admission to all five shows with five champagne opening upgrades; the Three Show Package for the snowbirds who will be coming and going this winter, which allows entrance to any three of the Five Shows as well as one of the Champagne Openings; and the Early Bird Package, which is the steal of a deal — five shows for only $75. The Early Bird tickets are only good for the first Saturday and first Sunday of each show. Season tickets can be purchased online at www.pagosacenter.org or by calling 731-SHOW.