Steve Emily and Matt Radcliffe are scared, and they're not too proud to admit it. The Springs Ensemble Theatre production of A Steady Rain makes demands on their acting skills like nothing they've ever done before.
"I'm terrified," Emily says. "If you're not, you're either much more talented than I am or you're delusional.
"Nobody should approach a five-page monologue and not be scared. When I read it, I was like, 'This is insane. Who would take this on?'"
"Every time I show up for rehearsals, it scares the shit out of me," says Radcliffe, who is also an Indy graphic designer. "I think that's a good thing because it means we're exploring territory that's not safe."
Keith Huff's 2006 drama focuses on two Chicago cops, on-the-job partners who grew up together. Now, Denny and Joey must figure out how to function as cops — and as human beings — after a cataclysmic mistake involving a serial killer based on Jeffrey Dahmer, otherwise known as the Milwaukee Cannibal.
"It's certainly unlike anything we've done here before. I don't recall another show like it in town. The structure of it is unique," says Emily, a SET founding member. The script is basically two monologues stitched together, showing the men struggling to find their way.
He says that if you like the antiheroes of Breaking Bad and The Sopranos, you'll love the "stripped-down lyricism" of A Steady Rain. Huff, the playwright, has co-produced and written for House of Cards and Mad Men, TV shows that examine society's underbelly.
"I think the takeaway from the play is not only this story of surrender to the darker side of your personality, but also it's a very character-driven situation, and the two guys are basically in the middle of it for the entire 90 minutes," director and SET member David Plambeck says. "I feel the main takeaway will be watching these two actors just do some phenomenal stuff on stage."