Two-man play to hit the Fugard Theatre

Gardens resident Adrian Collins is set to make his debut as a director in the production of A Steady Rain at the Fugard Theatre next month.

The critically acclaimed two-man play, A Steady Rain, is coming to Cape Town next month, directed by a Gardens resident.

Adrian Collins may be making his debut as a director in the South African production of A Steady Rain, but says his many years as an actor has helped him.

“I think it helps in communicating with actors and understanding the fragility of the actor, it also helps in the arch of telling a story which is important in building a character.”

The acclaimed production of Keith Huff’s award-winning Broadway hit A Steady Rain transfers to the Fugard Studio Theatre from Wednesday October 5 to Saturday October 29, following a sold-out season at the Alexander Bar.

Adrian said the transition from actor to director had been a challenging one. “I really do love and have really enjoyed it so far.”

One of his first jobs was acting in Hamlet directed by Janet Suzman where he performed in Stradford upon Avon. Adrian has also featured in several international series such as Black Sails which was filmed in Cape Town.

Adrian believes there is still a demand for theatre in Cape Town.

“When you look at theatres like the Fugard that have opened independently and it is doing so well and setting a very high standard. It is bringing in a huge audience which is great.”

He added that actors made their living by working in film as there was not much money in theatre. “We do lots of international film work and commercials. I was in season two of Black Sails and they wrote me a really great character. It was a great job. We are getting a lot more work coming in and our crews are really good. I think they (international companies) are starting to realise that we have a good pool of actors here. They are starting to take us a bit more seriously and audition us for bigger roles. You get to work with amazing directors, especially with a series.”

The play A Steady Rain, tells the story of two Chicago-based police officers and their trials and tribulations of trying to make it on a cop’s salary.

It is a two-man play, and Adrian said the idea was to keep the setting simplistic to let the acting speak for itself. “It follows their journey and struggle to get promoted and make ends meet. They go through some heavy things together. They are two very close life-long friends and the story revolves around that.”

He said during production of the play he did research on police officers in Chicago who grew up in rough neighbourhoods.

Adrian said it was also a very relevant story still, given the uprising of movements such as Black Lives Matter in the United States recently. “It comes up and the play is probably more relevant today than when it was written. America has a deep-seated history in police brutality, especially in Chicago.

“It’s got everything you want in a play. It’s funny, moving and sad. It’s acted superbly and probably the finest acting you will see on stage in Cape Town.”

He said working with a small cast was great for his first experience as a director. “You can hone in on the performance aspect. We’ve got a dialogue and we understand each other so we know what will work. I don’t like it when directors put too much of their own stamp on something because you want to feel the work. I just wanted to tell the story as best I could but I did enjoy working on the design aspect of it. We keep it simple to get a strong atmosphere.”

Adrian said that he plans to direct at least one play a year and continue acting as well. “It’s what I wanted to do always. I was lucky that my parents were very supportive.”

Oranjezicht resident Brent Palmer, who stars in the play, said it took him a while to fully immerse himself in the industry.

Brent, who grew up in Grassy Park, said it wasn’t until he left university and travelled to London that he realised acting was something he wanted to pursue.

He has been in the industry for 16 years.

Brent said the thing he enjoyed most about working on the production was the script. “The script is top-notch and it is a theatre gem. It is rich, layered and textured.”

He said that he and his co-star Nicholas Pauling had to learn 65 pages off by heart for the play. “It is an incredible challenge for any actor. The images come through in the text.”

He said that the text took him about three weeks to learn off by heart.

A Steady Rain will run at the Fugard Studio Theatre, from October 5 to October 29, Tuesdays to Saturdays at 8pm. The Fugard Theatre is situated in the heart of District Six, on the corner of Harrington and Caledon streets, Cape Town.

Tickets range from R130 to R150 and can be booked through Computicket. Bookings can also be made at the Fugard Theatre box office on 021 461 4554. There is a 15% discount available for the Friends of the Fugard members.