It makes sense that designer Miyuki Su places us in an interrogation room complete with two-way mirror for A Steady Rain, a taut, confessional two-man drama that marks the notable debut of Raleigh's Honest Pint Theatre Company.
From the outset, we're assessing two Chicago cops, longtime partners Denny and Joey, as they unspool various versions of the events that have precipitated a crisis in their law enforcement careers, their friendship and Denny's family and marriage.
But what sets playwright Keith Huff's muscular drama apart from the common herd of TV police procedurals is the degree to which Huff examines and then dismantles the broken moral compass Denny has relied on, and the skewed personal code by which Joey backs him up. As the narratives glide (a bit too frictionlessly) from the laundered language of an internal affairs review board to disclosures and re-enactments far more frank, it's telling that the charges that finally stick are the ones each character presses against himself.
Working with intense, proven performers Ryan Brock and David Henderson, former Raleigh Ensemble Players artistic director C. Glen Matthews has crafted a memorable 95 minutes on a dirty, unsafe urban roller coaster in this, his long-awaited return to the local stage. As Brock's character, Denny, is slowly stripped of his rationalizations for behaviors on the job and at home, something damaged—and dangerous—comes into view. As Joey, Henderson is visibly shaken by the end, haunted by the darker truths he's learned about his partner—and himself.
If it's the hard stuff you're after, Honest Pint has plenty to pour in this praiseworthy first effort.
This article appeared in print with the headline "Guiding lies."