I have to admit I had no idea who Grace Paley was. I had never read any of her poetry, fiction or non-fiction. And despite the fact that I grew up in an era of feminist activism I had never heard of Grace. This performance has convinced me I need to learn more.
It is obvious that author Barbara Selfridge admires, respects and loves her mentor Grace. And, despite the fact that Grace died in 2007, she is very much alive in this performance as Barabara shifts between the Grace, her husband Bob, and Barbara herself. With subtle shifts in how she stands or sits, holds her head to one side and adjusts the tone of her voice, and her accent she becomes Bob or Grace.
Her background as a writer and storyteller is clearly evident as each and every word is carefully chosen as she moves through the story. There are moments of humor, though I would not call this a comedy. There are moments which are clearly cathartic for Barbara as she works through some of the painful moments of her relationship with Grace, but the moments I loved best are when she read excerpts of Grace’s work.
If you enjoy great storytelling and the power of the written word or if you are familiar with Grace Paley’s story this is a show I think you will really enjoy. There are only three performances so buy your ticket now!