Sweet Storm

Love, in all its forms, is a many-splendored thing, but for newlyweds, romantic expectations can be severely challenged by the unhealthy and unnecessary strictures of a materialistic society, an artificially depressed economy, and the dogmas that sustain the hierarchical power structure which benefits from such an arrangement. In Sweet Storm, now in production at Miners Alley Playhouse, a young preacher, Boas (Michael Bouchard) and his beautiful, recently disabled bride, Ruthie (Rachel Bouchard) learn to make little things count.

Rachel and Michael Bouchard as Ruthie and Boas Harrison
Rachel and Michael Bouchard
as Ruthie and Boas Harrison
After Boas carries Ruthie up a ladder in the rain to a treehouse he has built for their honeymoon, the reality of the situation—bereft of a formal reception, encamped in the middle of a swamp, far from the creature comforts she has always counted on, and dependent on Boas to exit the nest—begins to weigh on Ruthie.

Boas and Ruthie's relationship roughly resembles that of their namesakes, Boaz and Ruth, in the Torah (Old Testament, to Christians), where Boaz serves as a knight in shining armor, of sorts, to the circumspect and chaste Ruth.

Rachel and Michael Bouchard as Ruthie and Boas
Rachel and Michael Bouchard
as Ruthie and Boas Harrison
As a real-life couple not so far removed from their own honeymoon, Michael and Rachel Bouchard bring a number of extra dimensions to Boas and Ruthie, beginning with chemistry—the fun, the feistiness, the foibles—it's all real, yet within the context of the play.

In both the biblical version and in this story, the male character is proactively invested in the successful outcome, while the female character must be wooed. All this is great fun for the Bouchards. The gleam in Michael's eye as Boas tends to the Ruthie's basic physical (she is unable to walk) and emotional (a disabling accident followed by the demands of a new marriage) needs, is a clue to his indomitable spirit, which Rachel's Ruthie incrementally comes to understand as her single greatest wedding gift. There are other gifts as well, which add unexpected pleasures to an unusual wedding night.

A hurricane approaches, both sexually and spiritually, then the climax is upon us.

Baby down and down I go, round and round I go
In a spin, loving the spin that I'm in
Under that old black magic called love

—"That Old Black Magic," music by Harold Arlen, lyrics by Johnny Mercer.

Michael and Rachel Bouchard as Boas and Ruthie Harrison
Michael and Rachel Bouchard
as Boas and Ruthie Harrison
Is it Boas' steadfastness and good humor or Ruthie's hard-won insights that bring the magic to fruition? Likely, it's the dialectic of two people learning to put aside minor differences and come together in major ways. A sweet confection for the summer.

The Miners Alley Playhouse's production of Sweet Storm runs through July 8th. 303-935-3044.

Bob Bows


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