Set against the backdrop of America’s Great Depression, “The Diviners” is a play about faith, family and stability in an unstable and volatile time.
The Organic Theater Company presents “The Diviners” by Jim Leonard, Jr. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. March 6, 7 and 8; and at 2 p.m. March 8 and 9 in the theater at Meiley-Swallow Hall.
“The Diviners” takes place in 1932, in a fictional Indiana farm town. It tells the story of C.C. Showers, a disenchanted preacher from Kentucky searching for a new life. He shows up in town and meets the Layman family: Ferris and his two kids, Buddy and Jennie Mae. Buddy is mentally handicapped and terrified of water, having never got over witnessing his mother’s tragic death in the river. Buddy is so scared of water, he is afraid to wash himself.
The play is directed by Josh Anderson, who played the role of Ferris Layman when he was in college. That introduction helped him understand the root of the drama and the characters’ motivations.
“It’s a big, overarching drama about this town, but the cool thing is, it’s very light and very beautiful and really funny,” he said. “It’s lovely. The major point of the play has to do with searching — it’s right there in the title. To ‘divine’ means to search for something.”
Specifically, they’re searching for water in the midst of the Dust Bowl.
“I think all of the people in this play are searching for something, and I think that’s why it stuck with me and I think that’s why it speaks to people nowadays,” he said. “On some level, we’re all searching for something in our lives, whether it’s as basic as a reason to get up in the morning. Whether it’s searching for faith or love or purpose, all of us are searching for some reason to go on, and I think that’s really what this play is about. That’s what speaks to me about it and I think that’s why it will connect with people.”
The play is a drama, with funny, touching moments, he said. People will enjoy it because the characters are all very lovable and it moves at a fast and engaging clip, he said.
“I think it’s a genuinely touching play,” he said. “Anyone who has ever questioned what they want to do with their lives, anybody who is searching for that purpose, will connect with these characters. And I’m pretty sure that’s everybody.”