The Diviners

Play

Writers: Jim Leonard, Jr.

Overview

Show Information

Category
Play
Number of Acts
2
First Produced
1980
Genres
Drama
Settings
Period, Multiple Settings, Simple/No Set
Time & Place
1930s, Zion, Indiana, USA
Cast Size
medium
Licensor
Ideal for
College/University, Community Theatre, Ensemble Cast, High School, Middle School, Professional Theatre, Regional Theatre, Religious Groups
Casting Notes
Mostly male cast
Includes early teen, late teen, adult, mature adult, young adult characters

Synopsis

When C.C. Showers, a back-sliding preacher, leaves the pulpit in Kentucky that he’s inherited from his forefathers and sets out to find an honest living for himself, he ends up in the tiny town of Zion, Indiana. He finds a job, and a place to lay his head, in the home of widowed mechanic, Ferris Layman. The farmers, shopkeepers, laborers, and impressionable young women of Zion welcome Showers with suspicion, curiosity, and ultimately joy -- the town has been without a preacher for many years, and the religious townswomen, led by zealous Norma Henshaw, know that Showers has been sent by the Lord to bring the word of God and build the church anew. Showers rebuffs the town’s efforts to set him up in their non-existent pulpit, and focusing his attentions on the mechanic, and his son and daughter. Showers fights a growing attraction to sympathetic Jennie Mae, but begins to think he can do some good as a friend to Buddy, a wild and innocent young man with a disturbed mind and some uncanny abilities. The death of his mother by drowning, and his own near-death, have given Buddy a powerful fear of water, even as a mysterious aquatic affinity gives him powers as a “water witch”, with the ability to divine wells and predict the rain. When his refusal to wash gives Buddy a bad case of the ringworm, Showers makes it his mission to calm Buddy’s fears and introduce him to water as a friend. The former preacher tries to keep Buddy’s feet on the ground, and heal him with the simple earthly magic of soap and water, but when the hopes of the townsfolk become involved, the line between bath and baptism becomes blurred, and tragedy inevitably strikes. Jim Leonard Jr.’s The Diviners is a luminous story of religion and magic, faith and doubt, love and grief. This comedic drama features a strong ensemble of well-rounded friends and neighbors, the well-intentioned denizens of a small town in search of it’s past, and uncertain of its future.

Lead Characters