Thursday, June 30, 2011

Police Drama Onstage In Racine In Late July

OVER OUR HEAD PLAYERS presents A STEADY RAIN

By Russ Bickerstaff
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Late next month, Racine’s Over Our Head Players presents a staged cop drama by Chicago playwright Keith Huff. A Steady Rain debuted in Chicago in 2007 and went on to Broadway in a production starring Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig.

Though it was written by a Chicago playwright about a pair of Chicago cops, it has parallels to a particularly tragic end of the Jeffrey Dahmer story here in Milwaukee. The story involves a pair of cops who unwittingly return a Vietnamese boy to a cannibalistic serial killer who claims to be the child’s uncle. Okay, not exactly the story of Dahmer, a couple of police officers and Konerak Sinthasomphone in 1991, but there ARE parallels. The play’s boy was Vietnamese. Sinthasomphone  was Laotian-American. Cannibalism was only one of many things Dahmer had engaged in. And in contrast to the Dahmer story, the play focuses on the lives of the two cops who feel genuinely upset that they so completely failed to read the situation properly. Their friendship is complicated. They struggle with trust and loyalty. Things get darker from there.

Though it kind of sounds like an episode of Law & Order, the play is actually a lot more dark than what would typically be found on television. The two cops are hopelessly embroiled in personal problems that go way beyond the case. It was a well-received drama that won awards. It was widely respected as gripping police noir stuff set in Chicago. Having met with considerable success elsewhere, the cop drama makes it to Racine next month thanks to a production by Over Our Head Players.

Probably more closely associated with comedy in the minds of most people, OOHPs is better known for it’s annual Snowdance comedy festival in winter and its annual sketch comedy Theatre Schmetre show. The group has done this kind of gritty drama before, however, most recently late July of 2010 when they staged a production of W. W. Vought’s Lie Down With Dogs. It looks like gritty drama is a late July thing for Over Our Head.

Over Our Head Players’ production of A Steady Rain runs July 29th – August 7th. For reservations, call 262-632-6802.

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