Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Review: "But for the Grace"

Photos By David Roy

Once in a while, you stumble on a great piece of theater that makes you think and want to be part of a solution. "But for the Grace," a one-man show written by David Eliet about the plight of this country's hungry, now playing in the NY Fringe Festival, is such a show.

My official review of the show runs at American Theater Web http://americantheaterweb.info/, but the message of the show is so powerful, I felt it deserved a few more words here.
Eliet interviewed more than 100 clients, volunteers and staff at food pantries in Rhode Island and wrote the piece commissioned by the RI Community Food Bank to dispel false ideas about people who rely on food pantries to feed their families.


Actor Bob Jaffe portrays a wide range of characters, 11 in all, to tell the story. Their reflections are neatly woven with statistic about how hard it is for some to put food on the table. The hungry themselves are statistics, "Angelina DeFabrio, age 83, lives on a widows pension," Jaffe tells us as he piles client files on top of each other on the stage. "Natalie, age 23, manic depressive," he tells us as he piles garments representing "women at a food pantry."

As files, pictures and garments representing the hungry overwhelm the stage, you begin to get a sense of how big the problem really is. In fact, Jaffe spells it out, literally, for us on a white board.


"Rhonda works 40 hours a week, 160 hours a month, and takes home about $400 each week, netting about $10 an hour," he tells us. "To pay her bills, Rhonda has to work 115 hours a month to pay her rent, 26 hours a month to pay gas and electric, eight hours a month for her medical co-pays, 12 hours a month to put gas in the car to get back and forth to work."

He shows us the white board with his computations.

"That adds up to 161 hours and she hasn't paid for food yet."

The show had its premiere at Trinity Rep in Providence. It plays the Fringe Aug. 14 at 9:45pm, Aug. 15 at 5:15pm and Aug. 17 at 2:30 pm at Walkerspace, 46 Walker Street, New York. For more information, visit www.fringenyc.org.

"But for the Grace" will be performed here in New England at the University of Rhode Island in North Kingstown on Sept. 13 and 14.

For more information about the show, email info@bftg.org.

1 comment:

Debbie W said...

This sounds like a fantastic show. I hope that it continues to play and that it comes to CT sometime. Sounds like it is a wake up call that we all need.
Thanks for sharing about it.

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Our reviews are professional reviews written without a religious bias. At the end of them, you can find a listing of language, content or theological issues that Christians might want to know about when deciding which shows to see.

** Mature indicates that the show has posted an advisory because of content. Usually this means I would recommend no one under the age of 16 attend.

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

My Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

She was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater (the only ones you can find in the US with an added Christian perspective) at http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/.

She is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection (http://ctarts.blogspot.com), an award-winning website featuring theater and arts news for the state. She is a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com and is a theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer. She previously served as Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp.com and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web.

Yarger is a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly and freelances for other sites. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.

She is a freelance writer and playwright and member of The Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association and The League of Professional Theatre Women. She served as a judge for the SDX Awards presented by the Society of Professional Journalists. She also is a member of the Connecticut Critics Circle and the CT Press Club.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger also worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and served for nine years as the Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. She lives with her husband in West Granby, CT. They have two adult children.

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All material is copyright 2008- 2017 by Lauren Yarger. Reviews and articles may not be reprinted without permission. Contact reflectionsinthelight@gmail.com

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Key to Content Notes:

God's name taken in vain -- means God or Jesus is used in dialogue without speaking directly to or about them.

Language -- means some curse words are used. "Minor" usually means the words are not too strong or that it only occurs once or twice throughout the show.

Strong Language -- means some of the more heavy duty curse words are used.

Nudity -- means a man or woman's backside, a man's lower front or a woman's front are revealed.

Scantily clad -- means actors' private areas are technically covered, but I can see a lot of them.

Sexual Language -- means the dialogue contains sexually explicit language but there's no action.

Sexual Activity -- means a man and woman are performing sexual acts.

Adultery -- Means a married man or woman is involved sexually with someone besides their spouse. If this is depicted with sexual acts on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Sex Outside of Marriage -- means a man and woman are involved sexually without being married. If this is depicted sexually on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Homosexuality -- means this is in the show, but not physically depicted.

Homosexual activity -- means two persons of the same sex are embracing/kissing. If they do more than that, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Cross Dresser -- Means someone is dressing as the opposite sex. If they do more than that on stage the listing would include the corresponding "sexual activity" and/or "homosexual activity" as well.

Cross Gender -- A man is playing a female part or a woman is playing a man's part.

Suggestive Dancing -- means dancing contains sexually suggestive moves.

Derogatory (category added Fall 2012) Language or circumstances where women are referred to or treated in a negative and demeaning manner.

Other content matters such as torture, suicide or rape will be noted, with details revealed only as necessary in the review itself.

The term "throughout" added to any of the above means it happens many times throughout the show.

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I receive free seats to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows made available to all voting members of the Outer Critics Circle and The Drama Desk, the two professional critics organizations with journalists covering NY theater. Journalistically, I provide an unbiased review and am under no obligation to make positive statements. Sometimes shows do not make tickets available to reviewers. If these are shows my readers want to know about (I review all Broadway shows and pertinent Off-Broadway shows), I will purchase a ticket. If a personal friend is involved in a production, I'll let you know, but it won't influence a review. If I feel there is a conflict, I won't review their portion of the production.

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