BWW Interviews: Craig Wright on His Broadway Hit GRACE and Its Utah Premiere
Pulitzer Prize nominee Craig Wright recently spoke with BroadwayWorld about his drama GRACE, which played on Broadway in 2012 and will have its Utah premiere this month. Utah Repertory Theater Company and Around the Globe Theatre will stage the co-production April 25-May 10 at the Sugar Space Theatre in Salt Lake City.
Craig Wright is best known as a writer for the TV hits LOST, SIX FEET UNDER, and DIRY SEXY MONEY, on which he was also series creator. He wrote the stage plays THE PAVILION, ORANGE FLOWER WATER, and RECENT TRAGIC EVENTS. Wright also wrote the screenplay for the recent MR. PEABODY AND SHERMAN animated family film.
1. If you were asked to describe GRACE in just a few sentences, what would you say?
It's a play about a man who believes God is on his side coming face to face with the fact that that just isn't true. Disastrous consequences ensue.
2. What are the most important themes of the play?
The persistence of love in the face of the damage continually being caused by our destructive acts. The folly of applying human concepts like ethics to our notions of the divine.
3. What prompted you to write GRACE?
My own experience working at a hotel renovation company, coupled with my studies in a very left-wing seminary and some readings in German history.
Amazing. Having a play on Broadway was always a dream of mine, and seeing the play peopled with such legendary actors was extraordinary. Sort of surreal, actually.
5. How do you feel about regional and community theatres such as Utah Repertory Theater Company and Around the Globe Theatre now performing this work?
I love it. It gives me faith that the questions that haunt me are real.
6. What are the similarities and differences between writing for television and the stage?
To me, TV is a psychological art form: all those close-ups. The primary questions on TV are about motivations. Theater is more existential: we're here: caught in this particular space, this particular moment: how did we get here? Why are we here? And what are we going to do with our limited time? These questions seem much more interesting to me than the questions posed by television.
Murder, romance, faith, and betrayal make for an explosive combination in the darkly funny and provocative drama GRACE.
The play premiered in 2004 by Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. It was nominated for the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play. Time magazine reviewed GRACE as "bold and compelling," while USA Today called the play "a beautiful, vexing study of two very different but both profoundly damaged men and a woman who is drawn to both of them."
Utah Rep's production is directed by JC Carter and produced by Robert Easton. The ensemble cast includes popular local actors Johnny Hebda, Emilie Eileen Starr, JayC Stoddard, and Jeffrey Owen.
Performances dates are Friday, April 25, May 2, and May 9, at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, April 26, May 3, and May 10 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday matinees on May 3 and May 10 at 2 p.m.; and Sunday, May 4, at 6 p.m. Tickets are $15-$18, with the Sunday, May 4, a Pay What You May performance, where patrons may purchase tickets beginning at $1.
The Sugar Space Theatre is located at 616 Wilmington Ave. in Salt Lake City's Sugarhouse neighborhood.
Advance tickets and additional information are available on the company website at www.utahrep.org.