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TheatreLab Grace

By • Mar 24th, 2014 • Category: Reviews
Grace
TheatreLab: (Info) (Web)
RVA Event Space, Richmond, VA
Through April 5th
2:00, with intermission
$25/$20 Seniors/$15 Students/Discount for Pre-ordering
Reviewed March 22nd, 2014

Forget about every convention of traditional theater before you go to see TheatreLAB’s Grace. Director Deejay Gray brilliantly turns this production at the RVA Event Space truly into an event of performance art.

Right from the start, the audience enters into an intimate performance space, with one row of seats surrounding a living room set (every seat is a front row seat). One of the actors is already on stage going about her business as if the audience wasn’t even there.

The play starts at the end, and works its way back to the start, with a few twists and turns along the way. Even the set itself requires thought. Two neighboring apartments are blocked into one living room set, with, at times, dual action taking place in this separate yet conjoined room.

One apartment belongs to an evangelical Christian couple, Steve and Sara (Alexander Sapp and McLean Jesse) who have just moved to Florida from Minnesota, where the husband plans to launch a chain of gospel-themed hotels. Their neighbor, Sam (Nicklas Aliff) has survived a disfiguring car crash that killed his fiancée. Both apartments are visited by an elderly exterminator, Karl (Eric Dobbs) who has survived some severe childhood trauma of his own. Each character must decide how to deal with their pain and their explanation of God.

As a writer, I find myself at a loss for words to describe the power in each of these performances. So many words are overused such as masterful, emotional, gut-wrenching and professional, yet each superlative fits all four performers. The comedy is timed perfectly and the drama is heart-felt and raw.

As an entry in the Acts of Faith Festival and as an evening of theater, Grace hits the mark and is truly a show not to be missed.

Note: Grace contains adult themes & staged gun use.

The Cast

  • Steve: Alexander Sapp
  • Sara: McLean Jesse
  • Sam: Nicklas Aliff
  • Karl: Eric Dobbs

The Crew

  • Director: Deejay Gray
  • Scenic Design by Deejay Gray & McLean Jesse
  • Costume Design by Caron Sinnenberg
  • Lighting Design by Michael Jarett
  • Properties Design by Amber Lashae Davis
  • Sound Design by Maggie Bavolack
  • Promotional Videography by Annie Colpitts
  • Stage Manager/Assistant Director: Melissa Rayford
  • Production Managers: Theresa Mantiply & Amber Davis

Disclaimer: TheatreLab provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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is by day a Special Education teacher, teaching History, Science and drama to Middle and High School students in a private Day School in Stafford. He has degrees in Educational Media and Special Education. He is also a part time Radio News Anchor and occasional actor in the Richmond area. Bruce is a native of New Jersey and spent most of his "adult" life in Upstate New York, where he started and ran a national award winning youth theater and cable television program for over 10 years. He has lived in Virginia since 2002, and in Caroline County since 2005, where he is active in many community groups; including serving on the Board of Caroline's Promise.

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