Revisiting the “Rain”: Intrepid Opens the 2016 Staged Reading Series

Intrepid_SR_ThreeDays_Wiget-1“This play has been life-changing for me.”

Intrepid Co-Founder and Artistic Director Sean Yael-Cox contemplates revisiting Richard Greenberg’s contemplative and mysterious play, Three Days of Rain, on Monday evening, the first installment of Intrepid’s 2016 Staged Reading Series. Joining him onstage will be Intrepid Producing Artistic Director Christy Yael-Cox and local acting favorite Jason Heil.

Christy Yael-Cox as Nan/Lina

Christy Yael-Cox as Nan/Lina

But aside from being a rare moment when this husband and wife artistic director team will share the stage, this reading is also a nod to the first time they met – while performing this play with Compass in 2008.

“I didn’t know her or who she was, but when she walked into the first rehearsal, late, I literally did a double take,” recalls Sean of his wife, Christy, director of Intrepid’s current mainstage production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? now playing downtown. “I felt as if I knew her. There was something incredibly familiar about her.”

Little did any of them know at the time what that stage partnership would lead to years later. Choosing to do this play as the opening for the reading series this year feels like a nod to Intrepid’s birth and growth over the last seven years. It is only fitting that the story would revolve around intimate relationships and a sense of history.

Sean Yael-Cox as Walker/Ned

Sean Yael-Cox as Walker/Ned

Set in Manhattan in 1995, Three Days of Rain centers on a brother Walker, his sister Nan, and their childhood friend Pip who meet to settle their parents’ estates. In Act One, Walker, Nan and Pip, the offspring of two very successful architecture partners gather for the reading of the will; in Act Two, the same actors take on the roles of the original partners and the woman who divided them.

“It’s a mystery mixed with a love story with an element of time travel,” says Sean. “The first time I read it, I fell in love with it.”

“This is the kind of play I love to see,” says Jason of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated script. “Greenberg continually brings in layers of surprises without ever feeling like he’s cheating. Also, the characters are smart, complex and real. You feel like you know them.”

“It’s also one of the great chamber plays of the last 30 years,” he adds, of the structure that typically involves minimal set and a small number of characters (derived from “chamber music,” which originally consisted of a small group of musicians who could fit inside a palace chamber, and also related to the intimate “chamber piece” films made popular by Ingmar Bergman).

Jason Heil as Pip/Theo

Jason Heil as Pip/Theo

It is a testament to Greenberg’s writing that the story still resonates – albeit differently – than the first time this group brought these characters to life eight years ago.

“I would like to think I’m a little older and wiser since the last pass,” continues Jason. “When I re-read the script recently, entirely new perspectives occurred to me. I think most great writing is like that. Every time you return to it, you see it through different eyes. Hamlet was very different to me as a boy, a young man, a married man, now a father. The play stays the same, but the lens through which I see it alters.”

And of course, the real-life camaraderie between these three will only serve to heighten the production.

“This is the first time the three of us have all shared a stage together since that production,” says Jason of the original staging that was directed by the indomitable Rosina Reynolds. “We know each other better, have deeper roots of friendship and have had more experiences together. I will be curious to see how that informs the work.”

“We wanted this year’s reading series to be different and to include plays that we were really passionate about so it is a natural fit,” says Sean. “I have no doubt that the audience will love this script as we do.”

Three Days of Rain by Richard Greenberg. A Staged Reading. Monday, February 22. 6:30 pm pe-show appetizer reception; 7 pm reading. Encinitas Library. 540 Cornish Drive. $15. Purchase tickets online or rsvp to boxoffice@intrepidtheatre.org and pay with cash or check at the door. 

Encinitas Library