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29.9.10

The Rainmaker

by N. Richard Nash

What a beautiful story! If anyone is confused, this is not the John Grisham story of a corrupt insurance company. No Matt Damon here. What we do have is a story of drought - a lack of rain and a lack of love.

The Curry men are concerned that plain Lizzie will never get married. They do everything in their limited power to marry her off to, well, anyone. How humiliating. Lizzie knows that her father and brothers are shopping her around and this throws her into wildly contrasting emotions - excitement, despair, anxiety, and depression. She knows she is not pretty but Jim, her brother, tries to convince her that she's just going about it the wrong way.
You don't talk to a man the way you oughta! You talk too serious! And if there's anything scares the hell out of a fella it's a serious-talkin' girl!
On a side note, I'm not convinced that Jim is the one she should be taking romantic advice from. After all, he's going with a girl named Snookie. Of whom, the other brother Noah says, "If you wanta get mixed up with poison, you go right ahead! But I wash my hands!" Anyone sense a Broadway revival starring our current media sensation? The audiences would flock! (but the jokes on them, Snookie never makes an on-stage appearance)

Jim is perhaps the most innocent member of the family and through his eyes we see that Noah's warnings are perhaps harsh cynical judgements. Jim asks him:
People want to get together - they oughta get together. It don't matter how, does it?
Love is love. Everyone is deserves it and we are all worthy of it. If the play tells us anything, it tells us this.

Lizzie is most properly matched with File, the local Sheriff Deputy. He is a man closed-off to love but he begins to see the value in having a woman around and comes to visit Lizzie at her home. They get into an argument and File is frustrated with expressing his emotions:
Look here! There's one thing I've learned! Be independent! If you don't ask for things - if you don't let on you need things - pretty soon you don't need 'em! 
I have certainly felt this way at times in my life. It can be hard to ask someone for something, it shows a weakness. File is a proud man and cannot bring himself to admit that he needs Lizzie. They part. Lizzie is convinced that she will end up a spinster until a strange travelling con man who calls himself Starbuck comes to town promising to bring rain to the town for a fee of $100.

Noah is the most skeptical of Starbuck and the most cynical towards Lizzie (though, he'd consider it being realistic). Starbuck is struck by Lizzie from his first entrance and does everything he can to convince her that she is worthy of love.
Don't let Noah be your lookin' glass! It's gotta be inside you! And then one day the lookin' glass will be the man who loves you! It'll be his eyes maybe! And you'll look in that mirror and you'll be more than pretty! - you'll be beautiful!
He and Lizzie share a moment of true connection and Lizzie is happier than she's ever been in her life.
You look up at the sky and you cry for a star! You know you'll never get it! And then one night you look down - and there it is - shining in your hand! 
But word has gotten out that a con man is in town and File and the Sheriff come looking for Starbuck. I won't reveal the ending, but I'll just say that it should not come as a surprise that this play was turned into 110 in the Shade. The magical elements and heightened emotions lend themselves very well to musical theatre.

The list of plays I want to do NOW is getting longer and longer.... ;)

Tomorrow's Play: Dancing at Lughnasa by Brian Friel

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