In the world of Grace, no amount of foreshadowing is too much | Theater Review | Chicago Reader

In the world of Grace, no amount of foreshadowing is too much 

Interrobang's beautifully acted production can't make up for an overdetermined script.

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Evan Hanover

Steve credits his self-described "prayer warrior" ethic with netting him a soon-to-be-delivered $18.6 million in Swiss francs to start a chain of gospel-themed hotels (the slogan: "Where would Jesus stay?"). For him, belief in God's capitalist-friendly grace is all anyone needs to succeed. Sam, who lives in an apartment identical to Steve's in the same complex, is his calculated opposite: having lost his fiancee and half his face in a horrific, metaphorically overdetermined automobile accident (hit by an orange juice delivery truck on a Tropicana access road in Sunrise, Florida), he now has faith in nothing. Caught in the middle is Steve's perpetually belittled wife, Sarah, for whom Sam's newfound nihilism offers a restorative antidote to her husband's condescending certainty.

Welcome to the stacked deck of Craig Wright's sporadically brilliant 2004 one-act, which reduces the complexities and consequences of commercialized faith to a tidy fable in which no amount of foreshadowing is too much. Which isn't to say the play's a bust. Far from it. Wright's characters are engaging and carefully observed throughout (and brought compellingly to life in director Georgette Verdin's beautifully acted production for Interrobang), and the script's numerous brutal monologues are stunning. But Wright's untroubled plotting turns most every messy predicament into a foregone conclusion.

And that's particularly problematic when the play opens with one character murdering the other two, then rewinds a few weeks to discover why it happened. Once the answers are obvious (somewhere around the halfway point) the play's squandered its dramatic purpose.   v

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