- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Loneliness and isolation pierce director Lisa Peterson’s finely wrought production of The Rainmaker, the 50-year-old American classic that has been performed in schools and community theaters across the country and is now at Arena Stage. In N. Richard Nash’s play set in the American West during the Great Depression, a lack of rain is not the only drought. Every character is parched in some way, hoping for miracles big and small that will revive them — none more so than a plain-Jane young woman near the end of her “marrying years,” who begins to appreciate herself only when she’s wooed by a seedy, charming confidence man who blows into town and promises he can make it rain. The play reassures us that even in our most despairing moments, relief and release are only a drop away. It runs through April 9. See it soon at 1101 Sixth St. SW. $46 to $60. 202/488-3300.

— Jayne Blanchard

Our Brand Is Crisis, exclusively at the Landmark E Street Cinema, has a local angle: the international activities of the K Street political consultants Greenberg-Carville-Shrum, observed during 2003 while working on behalf of Bolivian presidential candidate Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada. The young documentary filmmaker Rachel Boynton persuaded the firm to let her observe their backstage methodology at home and abroad. Offhand, it would appear that even with the best of intentions they provide expedient ammo for anti-American demagogues. That aspect never quite surfaces during what we see of the campaign, which results in a narrow victory for the GCS client, soon deposed after national protests and riots spearheaded by rival Evo Morales, subsequently elected president last year. In retrospect, it seems invaluable that Miss Boynton was on hand to document another turn for the ominous in Latin-American politics.

— Gary Arnold

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