Unfortunately, the best that all of these talented people can do is build a handsome carapace around an empty, unaffecting play.
|Photo: Charles Caster-Dudzick|
A major problem is that it is difficult to care about Steve. If he were kind, if he really cared about other people's souls, rather than just about being right, the show would gain some much-needed complexity and balance.
The decision to have the play begin at the end removes what little suspense it might have had. Not that an ending has to be a surprise--beginning at the end certainly doesn't hurt the movie Sunset Boulevard. But Grace has so little in the way of surprise or tension that the show can't afford to tip its (weak) hand.
In addition, playwright Wright can be lazy. For example, even though we know that Sara and Sam will fall in love, he doesn't bother to show it happening. Nor does he show Steve's growing frustration and fear as days and weeks pass and the money he has been promised doesn't appear
Perhaps most importantly, the presentation of questions of faith is simplistic and the characters' back stories rise little above cliché.
[end of spoilers]
All in all, Grace is a disappointment. I wanted--and want--to see Shannon and Rudd in a piece that is up to their talents. This isn't it.
(press ticket; 12th row, audience left)