by Peter Haas
In Doug Vincent’s play, “A Day For Grace,” one man’s life, as he grows up in a small town in Virginia, is illuminated by his reminiscences of family and friends. His memories, as they come to life on stage, include those of himself as a boy playing baseball, of his suicidal father, of a neighbor who takes him camping, of the disagreeable nurse who cares for his daughter as she goes through a difficult childbirth. The acting is riveting – all the more so because every role is played by one man: the author himself, Doug Vincent.
Dressed in black T-shirt and black pants, playing in front of a plain black backdrop, Doug Vincent gently commands the audience’s attention as he takes us through the story, changing roles solely with his facial expressions, voice and postures. At times, he morphs from one role to another in front of our eyes, simply by shifting his stance. At other times, he walks off the stage into the wings (one wing, really; it’s the tiniest of acting spaces), reappearing to introduce a new character with a new monologue.
Between his appearances, the pauses are filled sweetly by songs written and performed on guitar by rock/folk singer Sam Llanas, formerly of the rock group, The BoDeans.
With direction and music direction by Gary Tanin, “A Day For Grace,” just 100 minutes long, has already won praise from audiences across the country, including an earlier one at Stage Left. The piece arose originally through Doug Vincent’s non-profit organization, Boulder StoryHealers, which helps groups facing trauma or illness to find healing through story-telling in a supportive environment. In its Playbill, the play is dedicated to “all lost by suicide and those who love them.” The performance and writing, however, are never preachy nor downbeat; together they offer a flowing, authentic and moving experience.
Plans call for “A Day For Grace” to return to Stage Left Studio at some future dates, to be determined. Watch for it.
(September 19-22, 2013)
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