“Grace Is Good” at the Theater for the New City is written by Claude Solnik and is directed by Scott David Reeves. The play deals with the#metoo movement but from a different angle. Grace (Arielle Mandelberg) is a young, very beautiful young lady who is hired as a writer/editor for an aviation publication. Warren (Reeves), is her boss and has taken a general interest in her, he says he sees talent in her, she sees a great writer in Warren. Grace knows how to work it, the little flirty innuendos, the teasing the need to know all about Warren and his family. Warren sees a young, gorgeous women who he is willing to always give the benefit of the doubt to, even willing to help her along in her work. This leads to jealousy and suspicion in the office, especially from Barry(Mike Cesarano), who is about to lose his job the way Alex did. Like Alex, who haunts the office in bad memory, Warren is quick to jump all over Barry for just about everything. The two other co workers Annette,(Dana Segal) and Nate,(Atticus Cain) are caught in the middle of the tension between Barry and Warren. Annette wants to close her eyes and does not want to know what is going on and Nate who was once a private eye, looks into Grace’s past. What Nate finds is alarming as to Grace’s credentials.
What I found interesting about this play is that I have seen this many times in my life, a young women who gets mentored by an older boss, she looks up to him for guidance and support and the best way to be successful in the chosen field. Many people get angry at the relationship because they think that women is getting favoritism because an affair, or what appears to be one. Promotions are given out and tensions get very high. It can ruin a company, something what this play suggests and this show is no different. Nate and Barry get upset at what is transpiring in the company. If Grace is late to work, no big deal, if she makes a mistake, again, no big deal, the only problem is that the other workers are held to a much higher standard.
As the second act begins, we see that the boss of the publication getting involved in the rumors, she calls Grace into the office, she tells of her experiences with sexual harassment. Marie(Jill Simon), has the two pegged for an affair. Grace denies it and is offended by the accusations. The whole office has the two in a relationship, they work late, they go to lunch together, and they seem very cozy with one another. It is not enough to prove anything but minds are made up here.
The set is very economical, the lighting designer, Marsh Shugart does a great job with this play. The many scene changes were brilliantly done in the lighting effects by Shugart.
The costumes were also well done. The different outfits of Grace kept the audience focused on her, had the audience thinking what would I do if I was in Warrens shoes? The ties and shirts on Warren gave the audience the knowledge that he was with it.
All the actors in this play have a respectable resume, I thought Atticus Cain was a standout in this performance. His delivery, his humor and stage presence were excellent. The direction on Reeves part was also very good as the actors moved about the stage and keep the play flowing. The show needs to be cut down a little if it wants to move to off Broadway. It gets a little wordy in the second act and needs about fifteen to twenty minutes cut out of it. The show has some good humor to it, some real serious issues in it and has a very different message then the normal #metoo movement, but the play is just too long and too wordy. It deals with a different side of it. It was not a political play which I liked, it just gave the audience both sides and let them decide without ramming the political stuff down the audiences throat.