A Closer Inspection of “Praying for Rain”
This year’s fall play Praying for Rain takes place in a very familiar setting to us all – high school, present day. The main character Marc is very relatable: he feels lost and alone, as though no one cares about him. He is in love with a girl who doesn’t seem to care much about him. His family is broken up, as he mentions “no one really talks to each other anymore.” Many teenagers feel that way, but friends and family may not always notice and offer support.
When Marc tries to sell a gun – a pivotal plot point – a current real-world issue is brought up: how easily accessible guns are in some states. Each year, America loses many lives to gun violence. Views divide on this extremely controversial topic: some think gun control laws deny them their safety, others insist that guns are too dangerous and have more cons than pros. Gun violence has been a topic of debate in 2018.
As Marc gets into trouble with school, a teacher, Ms. K, tries to help him get back on track and takes him under her wing. Troubled times aren’t over yet, because soon afterwards Marc and his friends end up accidentally killing someone. The conflict of the play escalates to the point where it drives characters to lose themselves: one runs away, one is overcome by extreme guilt and grief, and one even commits suicide. The teacher who was helping Marc recover feels that she could have done more to prevent the terrible accident. Her daughter, Erin, on the other hand just wants Ms. K to be there for her, when she needs a mother.
Everyone has regrets. If only it had rained that day. If only Marc stopped the bullying. If only he stopped hanging out with people who had a negative influence on him. If only Marc listened to Ms. K. But what is done is done, and Marc, as well as the rest of the characters, is going to have to carry that burden with him throughout his life.
The name of the play, Praying for Rain, plays on the idea that rain is a symbol of a blessing, something good and pure – water that brings life to everything and cleanses everything. Rain was what was needed that day and could have saved the situation.
The show could not have gone on if it weren’t for all the dedicated students and faculty in the cast and crew who worked for weeks, spending hours upon hours after school and even on the weekends sometimes, to put on the best production of Praying For Rain that they could. They would spend hours working on one scene or even part of a scene. One of the most challenging part of this play in particular, as Ms. Massie, the director of the play, stressed, was for the students themselves to understand their characters. Each of the actors and actresses had to take their own time to get to know their characters inside and out. With all the time and effort it took out of the students to produce the play, Maeve Hogan ‘19 (Ms. K) shared, “There is nowhere else in this school that I have experienced bonding and closeness like you get when you’re in a cast together because… we end up spending 3-6 days of the week together for hours and hours and hours… and when you spend that much time with a group of people, that’s a bond unlike anything else.” Being a part of a production like the fall play is a bonding experience for the cast and crew, and it creates a sense of family amongst them.
The play itself teaches us that people need each other sometimes. Retul Hock ‘21 (Marc) commented, “What I really want the audience to learn is that there is always someone out there that wants to help you.” It’s not hard to offer support and listen to someone, so they don’t feel lonely. The play also shows how peer pressure can have a negative impact on someone. We have to always listen to OUR inner voice first, and not let others’ voices affect our decisions, because our decisions form our lives. Whatever you are feeling, whatever you are going through, you’re not alone. There is always help, if you ask for it. This message is very powerful in that it relates to many of us – we’ve all felt lost and alone at some point in our lives.