Anita’s eye on theatre – Gracie – ATP – Martha Cohen Theatre
I left the theatre completely rewarded after watching mesmerized for 90 minutes as young Lili Beaudoin takes us into her journey as a girl growing up in a polygamous society in Gracie.
To pull off a 90 minute, script-intense, one-hander is a feat that Beaudoin accomplishes with élan. We become emotionally involved with Gracie’s life events. The material certainly helps. Joan MacLeod’s script is sensitive, detailed, dense with imagery and refreshingly nonjudgemental. She uses Gracie’s innocence to create empathy with the audience and to draw an uncomplicated intimate portrait of what life could be like in the polygamous community.
Through Gracie’s eyes we witness and partake in family life — the assigned marriages of her mother and sisters, the shunning of family members, the vanity of the leaders. Beaudoin uses subtle changes in her expressions and enthusiasms to mark Gracie’s growth — from wide-eyed child, to giggly teenager and finally, to emerging woman.
The discreet direction by Vanessa Porteous makes the play even more powerful by showcasing the storytelling, as does the simple multi-level set.
Gracie has the quality of a long exhalation, or a wonderfully balanced and nourishing meal. It’s satisfying, it feels good and it lingers. Go see it.