Above, actress and writer Sharon Sharth.
In the late ’70s, Joni Mitchell sang in the transcendent Hejira, “I know, no one’s going to show me everything/We all come and go unknown/Each so deep and superficial/ Between the forceps and the stone.”
In some inchoate but poignant way Sharon Sharth’s semi-autobiographical play, Waiting for Grace, reminded me of that song. While the play is often brilliantly funny, it’s also moving; the search for love and marriage by a no-longer-young, yet still attractive actress is both personal and universal, filled with longing and delight, despair and hope.
Directed by Lee Costello, the play is essentially a one-woman show, albeit ably supported by a brilliant cast playing various roles as Grace’s boyfriends, therapists, and parents.
The plot is simple: Grace (Sharth herself, a burning spark both searing and sexy) long focused on her career, now wants marriage and motherhood, but cannot find a man able to provide her with a ring or a child. Some are too clingy, some angry, some distant – all are played by the chameleon Jeff LeBeau. Therapist, parents, and relationship counselor all come into play trying to advise her, until at last she meets “the one,” David (Todd Babcock).
Her dream man isn’t perfect either, and in fact, until the last moments, the audience is never sure that even David will prove worthy of Grace’s somewhat neurotic love.
The play is warm and affectionate overall, with acerbic and bittersweet asides. The weakest link is when Grace tries to have a child with David, but that’s a quibble. The script is sharp, witty, powerful, and brave.
Sharth takes on the pain of looking for love (in all the wrong places and with all the wrong guys), aging, feminism, the meaning of marriage — and comes up with the only conclusion that can possible be reached: waiting for grace isn’t easy, but in the end, she/it can be found.
Quoting Mitchell again, “I’m traveling in some vehicle/I’m sitting in some cafe/ A defector from the petty wars/Until love sucks me back that way.”
Running through December 11th, don’t miss the chance to find Grace.
- Genie Davis; Photos: courtesy of the Odyssey