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Animals contemplate Noah's Ark in 'Doubting the Downpour'

Animals contemplate Noah's Ark in 'Doubting the Downpour'

May 16th, 2019 by Samantha Pogue in News

Actors rehearse "Doubting the Downpour" on Tuesday at Stained Glass Theatre. Stained Glass Theatre will present the children's production of the biblical story of Noah's Ark told from the lighthearted, often humorous perspective of the animals.

Photo by Mark Wilson /News Tribune.

Robin Riley has six children younger than 9 years old at home.

She is in the process of adopting her three foster daughters and is guardian to her three grandchildren who have special needs.

She loves her adult daughters, children and grandchildren. They also love watching her perform in plays at Stained Glass Theatre.

"When the opportunity came up to co-direct 'Doubting the Downpour,' I thought this is something we can do together," Riley said of her foster children and grandchildren. "If they can be in the play and I can direct, we can do this as a family."

Riley and her close family friend Misty Matthews, another Stained Glass Theatre veteran actor and director who directed this production 10 years ago, have found other families have also encouraged siblings and their children to co-star in this 39-member cast of mostly children in "Doubting the Downpour," which opens at 7:30 p.m. May 23 at the 830 E. High St. theater.

"There are many families of siblings, father and son, and others who have joined the cast," she said. "It really is a family production."

That family theme carries through the clever writing and premise of the play, written by Linn Lewis and Jane Perry. "Doubting the Downpour" tells the biblical story of Noah and his ark, but told from the animals' perspective. The crows, played by Erik Richardson and Hayley Fender, narrate the tale of Noah, played by Will Kluth. They are amazed by what Noah, his wife Joan (played Sharon Acree-Frausto) and three sons (Shem, played by Gideon Duren, Ham, played by Eli Rodriguez, and Japeth, played by Harrison Lane) are working around the clock for the biggest journey of the family's lives.

"What is he doing building this boat and what is this weird water coming from the sky?" Riley said as she explains the animal's thoughts to Noah's quest. "As the animals talk about what is going on, some think they are going on a cruise while others think they are going to a church social. It is the story of Noah, but there are mentions of going to Walmart or Home Depot to get modern day things they may need.

"It is a very cute play and it's funny. It is so fun to see this story from the view of the animals, and some of their lines are just a hoot."

Riley and Matthews have enjoyed working with the entire cast, which includes Holley Hegedorn as Sharon, Kourtney Highfill as Hannah, Lanie Richardson as Jolene and Roger Martin as the voice of God. They found the cast has delved into their characters and worked hard to deliver this unique take on an important story.

"In working with these kids, if you tell them how you want them to deliver their character, they listen, want to please and show it on stage because they want to shine," Riley said. "They all have been working so hard, and we are very proud of all they have accomplished."

The family affair continues beyond the performing on stage, as many parents have helped Martin with costumes, built sets and other duties. For Riley and Matthews, they are amazed and thankful for every single person's involvement and know audiences will enjoy "Doubting the Downpour."

"Even though I have heard this play many times, just last night I was laughing so hard watching these kids," Riley said. "It is a very lighthearted play but does tell God's story and delivers his promise. Please come out and laugh, be entertained and enjoy this play with the whole family."

"Doubting the Downpour" will hit the stage at 7:30 p.m. May 23-24, May 30-31 and June 6-7, and 2 p.m. May 25, June 1 and 8. Tickets are $9 for all shows except opening night, which is $7 per person. To reserve tickets or for more information, call 573-634-5313 or visit www.sgtmidmo.org.