By MELANIE ARMSTRONG
It never actually rains in “The Rainmaker,” but the play’s not just about getting wet.
N. Richard Nash’s Pulitzer prize winning play, “The Rainmaker” opened last Friday at the Hale Center Theater Orem.
The play is set in a hot and dry western town, where a long draught is killing the crops, the livestock and the spirits of the people. Then, a man claiming to be a “rainmaker” visits the Curry family. For $100 he guarantees rain within the next 24 hours.
Lizzie Currie is skeptical of the charming miracle man, called Starbuck and so is her stiff older brother, Noah.
But her father and younger brother, eagerly jump at the hope of rain. They invite Starbuck into their home and into their lives.
While Lizzie and Noah fight the intoxicating powers of their strange visitor, the tension between the family builds.
Noah (Larson Holyoak) is the sensible older brother. He refuses to see anyone else’s perspective. “Heck, I hate being right all the time,” he says.
Jimmy (Jeremy Anderson), the younger brother, is just exploring the world of romance and courtship.
Lizzie (DeLayna Anderson) is an old-maid sister who thinks she is too plain to “catch” a man. Lizzie claims she wants to get a man “without tricking him.”
Her father (Gordon Johnson) and brothers try to help. They try to set her up with File (Matthew Kohl), deputy to the town sheriff (Lynn Vickery). File is an independent divorced man who won’t even accept a dog for companionship.
Over the course of the evening, Lizzie warms to the handsome Rainmaker (Benjamin Berneche). He convinces her she is beautiful, after she has given up hope of ever finding love or self-worth.
“There’s no such thing as a plain woman,” he says.
In the end, Lizzie has to make a choice, reminding herself that “nothing’s ever as pretty in your hands as it is in your head.”
All of the actors were right on cue for Friday night’s performance. They created amazing chemistry on stage, particularly within the Curry family.
They also worked well on the round stage, helping the audience feel like they were sitting in the Curry’s living room.
Huge sweatmarks under the arms of all the characters suggested the summer heat and added a perfect detail to the costumes designed by Maryann Hill.
The Hale Center double-casts its characters. The Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday cast features Kim Stone Wares as Lizzie, Paul Hill as File, Gordy Villarini as Starbuck, Tom Lamoreaux as H.C. and LaMar Nielsen as the Sheriff.
“The Rainmaker” runs through July 6 at the Hale Center Theater Orem. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $6 Mondays, $7 week-nights and $9 weekends, and can be purchased at the theater or by calling 226-8600.