A Touch of Grace:
I never have enough money to do what I want to do. That still doesn’t stop me from attending plays like Grace on Broadway. It seemed apropos to the year filled with references to the word, “grace”. There are more than I can even mention here. So it was fitting that I sit in seat #1, my sister in seat #3 (haha, Peter’s lucky number 13) to catch a show about faith… of course.
This play is a refreshing stretch for Paul Rudd who is best known for his role in “Knocked Up” (which he reprised in this year’s film, “This Is 40”). Here, Paul gets to flex his acting muscles by playing a dejected young minister. Despite his best efforts, he has lost his way…in Florida. His wife, played by Kate Arrington, is a sunny almost annoying character who chirps about Jesus throughout the first half of the play. However, her cheeriness begins to unravel & the truth begins to emerge as she begins to fall for the crippled neighbor, played wonderfully by Michael Shannon. Ed Asner, the faithless turned faithful exterminator, provides a roundness to the script literally bringing the unique circular staging to an end…which belies the beginning. He is a necessary addition who brings subtlety to Holocaust survival & what it truly means to have faith.
The remarkable elements of scenes played in reverse & the delicately interwoven room-within-a-room performances are a MUST SEE. Paul Rudd’s arc pulls you into his world as he turns from optimistic dreamer to lost soul. At the height of his loss is his wife’s gravitational pull to love from a deep well that neither she nor the recipient neighbor could understand. We as an audience see it clearly as well as the tragic finale.