Meri Page, an assistant professor of communications design in the College of Visual and Performing Arts’ School of Design, was named an “Educator to Watch” by Graphic Design USA (GDUSA). The GDUSA “Educators to Watch” series shines the spotlight on…
World Premiere of ‘Tender Rain’ Up Next at Syracuse Stage
The next performance in Syracuse Stage’s 2022/2023 season is the world premiere of “Tender Rain,” written by resident playwright Kyle Bass and directed by Rodney Hudson, the longtime Department of Drama faculty member.
The production runs Wednesday, May 3, through Sunday, May 21, at Syracuse Stage in the Archbold Theater.
Set in a small Southern city, circa the mid-1950s, “Tender Rain” introduces us to Milton Millard Milton, a white banker, and Ruthie Mimms, an older Black woman, and their deeply familial and complex relationship which profoundly influences Milton’s life.
Approaching late-middle-aged and childless, Milton and his wistful wife, Dolores, are lost in a marital fog of secrets and emotional withholding. Is there a way forward for them? Can Milton seek aid from Ruthie without destroying their relationship? Will the momentary escape Milton finds in the arms of a younger woman spare him the reckoning he must ultimately face? “Tender Rain” richly observes a layered emotional landscape rooted in an oppressive society as it explores intimacy, race, and the assumptions we all make about one another.
“Tender Rain” is the fourth play written by Bass and produced by Syracuse Stage for their mainstage. Bass has also written two Backstory scripts as part of Syracuse Stage Education programming, and as part of a project focusing on the lives of student military veterans, Bass wrote “Separated,” which was presented on the Storch stage and at the Paley Center in New York City.
Syracuse Stage Artistic Director Bob Hupp says, “The beauty of this play lies in the richness of Kyle’s language. ‘Tender Rain’ tackles the complexity of relationships in ways that transcend the time in which the play is set. This is not a play that could easily translate to television; this is a work that demands to live on a stage. That’s what I find so compelling about Kyle’s work, and that’s why we’re honored to support his craft as our resident playwright, and as a defining voice of our organization.”
Bass refers to “Tender Rain” as a “symphonic drama,” and it is also the first full-length play Bass ever wrote.
“It’s strange and wonderful to be working on this play again nearly 20 years after I first started writing it as my graduate thesis. In revisiting it for its world premiere, I could revise the play, but I could not revise the playwright who first brought it to the page—an exercise in acceptance and possibility. My process mirrored the underlying metaphor of the play: how do we as a nation fully acknowledge and reckon with the difficult and unchangeable truths of our shared past and move forward together in the light of those truths towards a more compassionate future?” Bass says.
The cast features Devereau Chumrau as Lily/Doctor, Brian Dykstra as Milton Millard, LeeAnne Hutchison as Dolores Millard, Marjorie Johnson as Ruthie Mimms, Erin Lockett as Deirdre/Aralia, Niall Powderly as Eddie “Brother” James, and Jenny Strassburg as Mary Honeycutt.
Director Hudson’s creative team consists of scenic designer Se Hyun Oh, costume designer Tracy Dorman, lighting designer Dawn Chiang, sound designer Fabian Obispo and wig designer Bobbie Zlotnick. Laura Jane Collins is the stage manager.
Hudson was an assistant professor in the College of Visual and Performing Arts‘ drama department for 26 years, directing over 30 productions.
Opening Night for the world premiere is set for 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 5. All evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m. while all matinee performances begin at 2 p.m. Tickets start at $30 with discounts available for students and groups of 10 or more. Tickets can be purchased by visiting SyracuseStage.org, by calling 315.443.3275, or by visiting the Syracuse Stage Box Office at 820 East Genesee St.
Pay-what-you-will performances are May 3-6; prologue conversations, three pre-show discussions that take place one-hour before curtain time on May 7, May 13 and May 18; the post-show Sunday discussion will take place on Sunday, May 14, after the 7:30 performance. Syracuse Stage has its open-captioned performances scheduled for May 10 at 2 p.m., May 20 at 7:30 p.m. and May 21 at 2 p.m., as well as an audio-described performance on May 20 at 2 p.m. The production Happy Hour takes place an hour prior to the 7:30 p.m. curtain on May 11.
Season support for Syracuse Stage is made possible by The Slutzker Family Foundation.