Three Days of Rain Forecast: A Quality Production

After one of the driest summers on record,  Albatross Theatre Lab’s inaugural production, Three Days of Rain by Richard Greenberg, opened at the Slate Theatre in SODO this weekend.


If Three Days of Rain, directed by Simon Irving, is anything to go by, Albatross has great things ahead of it. The two-act show opens in a derelict loft apartment in New York City, 1995. Siblings Walker (Sam Harris) and Nan (Noelle McCabe) Janeway are reunited after a year apart in order to attend the will-reading of their famous-architect father, Ned. Also attending the reading is their childhood friend Pip (Zach Sanders), the son of Ned’s late business partner Theo. All three children begin the play with a clear idea of their parents, despite the near non existent relationships they held with them (Ned was near mute, his wife Lina had a breakdown and was institutionalised, and Theo died when Pip was only three), but in the aftermath of the unexpected reading they come to realise that everything they thought they knew was wrong, even as their own long kept secrets come out in the open.


Harris is captivating as the wandering, slightly-insane, philosopher Walker. He never seems quite present, lost in his own world even as he interacts with Nan and Pip, until of course he falls into caustic wit. Meanwhile McCabe encapsulates the the exhausted housewife Nan, tired of being the caretaker of a brother who doesn’t want to be saved and showing off an enviable ability project judgement with the arch of a single eyebrow. This production was a year in the making, something that shows in the sheer quality of the acting as the the three-person ensemble moves into the second act.


It’s now 1960, in the same flat, and Harris, McCabe, and Sanders are now playing their parents. This easily could have become confusing, even uncomfortably incestuous, but instead the audience is kept firmly centered in the new roles. Harris goes from an arrogant and absent minded chatterbox to the quiet, stuttering, Ned. McCabe’s exhausted, practical demeanour shifts completely as well when she plays the passionate Southern Belle Lina (though the eyebrow raise remains) and Sanders redirects his happy-go-lucky energy of the first act into an intense performance as driven, incensed, and ultimately tragic Theo.


As the second hour of the play reveals everything that the grown-children of the first will never know, the audience is haunted by an air of inevitability. The parallels are mostly slight and subtle, but present enough to drive home the message that a resigned Ned delivers, “What we want…and what we get…the only thing that spans them is guilt.”


Three Days of Rain is indubitably brilliant, but perhaps not for everyone. It is a long, drawn-out, family drama without much of a resolution at all. And it must also be noted that in many ways it is a pretentious piece about pretentious people, references to philosophy, literature, and the classics are frequent and vital to the productions humour, without at least some background knowledge a good portion of the performance is likely to go straight over one’s head.

With only a week of shows left, this isn’t one for a rain check.


Three Days of Rain by Richard Greenberg. Albatross Theatre Lab at Slate Theatre. 815 Seattle Blvd S. October 1,4,5, & 6 8pm. Info:

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