Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Finding Unsuspecting Influences in "Three Days of Rain"

Director Derek Van Barham, on what inspired him about Three Days of Rain.

What first struck me about Three Days of Rain was the richness of the script. We were able to hit the ground running with stellar material, and could spend the whole process really investigating the text. We had time to take risks, try things, fail, and fine tune. Greenberg did us a great service by giving us this deserted apartment in Act One. We are given a sort of blank canvas on which to paint these complex relationships. By contrast, Act Two is a fully realized portrait that we get to deconstruct. We draw something, and then rip it apart.

Each time that I watch our production, I notice different themes and patterns, recurrences in dialogue and gesture. The dynamic between our respective trios is so mercurial. I am still not sure I could say who the protagonist of our story is (though I think I know which character is the key to each act). What a treat to see three talented Chicago actors try to understand their parents only to then (literally) become them. Another Greenberg gift.

The word 'moment' is used throughout the script, and it is a word that has stayed with me. Moments are created and can easily be altered by time and space. For example, my memory of an intimate conversation can be vastly different than that of the other person. The distance between Act One and Act Two is like spilling water on a photo, or exposing a newspaper clipping to sunlight.

Three Days of Rain is about how the most unsuspecting present can have the biggest impact on the future, how the things we barely notice can shape who we are. It’s about the butterfly effect, the ripples of every decision we make.

One of our design inspirations was the Hiroshima Shadow, the negative space outlines created by the World War II nuclear attack. Outlines of bicycles, ladders, and even people were left on surfaces. Even though the objects and people were gone, their impressions were burned onto the walls. In our show, the room is a character, covered in shadows.

Three Days of Rain tells a story of people who were here and all of the moments they created together. It’s about connecting to the past, if for no other reason than the uncertainty of the future. It resonates in a time where we create our own families, and are constantly taking stock of how we will spend each moment. It is about how we will be remembered. And being remembered, however inaccurately, doesn’t sound so bad to me.

Derek Van Barham,
Director of BoHo's Three Days of Rain