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Trio of actors, fine script make `Three Days of Rain' entertaining and insightful

Is there a statute of limitations on old relationships? Can parents' buried secrets impact their children's lives decades later?

Richard Greenberg's "Three Days of Rain," having only its third production in the United States, raises some interesting questions about family and business and their intertwined situations.First-time director Keven Myhre was a little nervous on opening night, but he can relax now. His three actors - Kurk Davidson, Susan Dolan and Eric Robertson - are superb players and skillful professionals. Each portrays two characters: a trio of longtime baby boomer friends in Act One, and their parents 35 years earlier in Act Two.

The first act is set in 1995, when a brother and sister, Walker and Nan Janeway (Davidson and Dolan), the offspring of Ned and Lina Janeway, meet in their father's vacant New York City apartment several months after Ned's death, just prior to heading off to an attorney's office for the reading of the will. Joining them is Phillip "Pip" Wexler (Robertson), their childhood friend and son of their father's architectural business firm partner, Theo Wexler.

Walker has discovered his father's journal hidden under the mattress of the bed in the small, studio apartment - a space which Ned and Theo once shared as roommates while their business was just getting started.

Walker is an aimless chap, given to wandering off for months at a time (he missed his father's funeral because he was somewhere in Italy and Nan was unable to track him down). Nan, now living in Boston with her husband and two children, is the stable one of the two, but both have painful memories of growing up with a noncommunicative father and their deranged mother ("She's Zelda Fitzgerald's less stable sister," opines Walker).

Nan, understandably, is highly peeved with her younger brother because she was stuck with dealing with their father's funeral arrangements. (Their mother, it is mentioned, is both mentally and physically "elsewhere.")

Most frustrating for Nan and Walker is that there are few discernable clues in Ned's old journal. One cryptic notation, for April 3-5, 1960, simply says "Three days of rain." But - as the audience learns during Act Two - those three days were pivotal in the destinies of nervous stutterer Ned Janeway, high-strung and overeducated Theo Walker and the woman they both love, Lina, an earthy Southern belle at odds with her Yankee environment.

When Walker, Nan and Pip begin reflecting on their childhoods and their parents, they attempt to come to some conclusions about their fathers' personal and business relationships. Then, as the audience is allowed to go back in time 35 years and see the situations actually developing, it soon becomes apparent that the children have quite a few misconceptions. The dark secrets of the past don't give themselves up easily.

The trio of actors makes Greenberg's finely wrought script click. Davidson, whose two-year tour of duty in "Les Miserables" obviously served him well, does an exceptional job as the moody, agitated Walker, and his intense, introverted father, Ned.

Dolan is mostly cool and aloof as Nan, then really cuts loose as the sensual, hot-tempered Lina. Robertson more than holds his own, too, first as Pip, a shallow N.Y. actor who has gained some fame as Butte in a daytime soap opera ("You're named after a geological formation!" exclaims Walker), and also as Theo, an emotional wreck who is perceived as the genius behind the soon-to-be-famous architectural partnership.

Myhre not only directed the show, but designed the set - a replication of a tiny Manhattan flat with a drafting table against one window and a mattress atop some cinderblocks. In Act One, it's fairly spartan and empty, but for Act Two it looks more "lived in." Catherine Zublin handled the costuming, with Jim Craig in charge of lighting and David Evanoff designing the sound.

- Sensitivity rating: Some profanity and vulgarity, but it's not gratuitous. Also some onstage smoking of herbal, nonaddictive cigarettes.