Arielle Mandelberg Cast In Title Role Of Textile Co.'s GRACE IS GOOD
THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY - Arielle Mandelberg has been cast in the title role of the Textile Co.'s production of Grace is Good, a new play about relationships and rumors in the workplace and a new story for the Me Too Conversation.
The play, written by Claude Solnik and directed by Scott David Reeves, is running May 31 to June 17 at Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave., between Ninth and Tenth Streets. Tickets are $18 and $15 for students and seniors at the Tix link.
The show comes as inappropriate relationships and harassment have become topics for everything from water cooler conversation to headlines and lawsuits.
"Grace tells a me too story that hasn't been in the news, but could easily happen in any office," Solnik said. "It's even more complicated, because co-workers try to figure out what's occurring, whether it's inappropriate and whether it's harassment."
Nate played by Atticus Cain (Equity), Barry played by Mike Cesarano and Annette played by Dana Segal (Equity) become suspicious that Warren i(played by Scott David Reeves, Equity) s taking advantage of the new hire.
Jillie Simon (Equity) plays the publisher who tries to protect everyone, while Remy Muloway plays Alex, the ghost of a former hire.
"If the cast discussions during rehearsals are any indication, this play is sure to start a dialogue on the gray area between right and wrong," Mandelberg said. "It's been a stirring, moral-questioning trip to take, especially at this time in our society."
Mandelberg is making her New York City stage debut in Grace is Good at Theater for the New City, after performing in other parts of the country.
She graduated with a BFA in acting from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and worked in theater, commercials and film in the Bay Area.
She has appeared in a wide range of roles and productions from Deirdre in I Hate Hamlet to Maggie in Lend Me a Tenor, Olive in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Sorel in Noel Coward's Hay Fever and Kathy in Company.
She recently moved to New York City where she was cast in the title role of this play being presented by the Textile Co. at Theater for the New City.
"Grace is a new hire and her co-workers are trying to keep an eye out for her, so she doesn't make any rookie mistakes. Warren, the paper's managing editor, decides to take the new reporter under his wing," Reeves said of the plot. "As their friendship grows, so do her co-workers' suspicions. The office grows tense as accusations fly and the situation spirals out of control. Grace is Good examines the limits of professional relationships and the danger of rumors."
Grace is Good, with Joanna Newman as stage manager and lights and sound by Marsh Shugart, also looks at how relationships in the office can impact the people involved and co-workers - and how it can destabilize the workplace.
As we watch the story unfurl, we wonder whether the co-workers are engaged in a witch hunt or simply getting to the truth of a case of a manager exploiting a younger woman.
"What happens when co-workers start investigate what's happening and try to figure out who's right and who's wrong?" Solnik asked. "In some cases, what's happening is clear and so is right and wrong. But that isn't the case in every situation."
The fictional story examines how people's interpretations can matter as much as actual actions involving an older and a younger worker.
The job interview seems to go on longer than most. What did the two discuss? There's special treatment, or is it just the natural concerns for and efforts to help a new hire?
"Each woman in Grace is Good has her own Me Too story," Reeves said. "Grace is Good takes one story and shows it to us on stage, following it from suspicion to resolution and even revenge."
Remy Muloway, the ghost of employees past, haunts the office, as we hear about how he was fired - and learn about shouting and what sounds like bullying.
When Warren swings a baseball bat in the office, is he a bully taking aim at a co-worker or just a one-time ball player relaxing by remembering his days on the ball field?
"Every Me Too story is very specific, but also universal. We keep hearing about new cases, but the issue of what's appropriate, what's right and what's wrong, remains," Reeves said. "Are relationships in the office wrong? If they involve a supervisor and a hire, are they tinder boxes?"
The show looks at how easily a relationship in the office can alter the workplace for all involved. Did they or didn't they? And if they did, is it harassment?
Anonymous complaints, quotes from Jane Austen and suspicious encounters all crop up as an office is divided, while everyone tries to determine how and whether two people are involved and whether it's inappropriate - and even illegal.
"Grace is Good is about people working in an office who get involved one way or another," Solnik said. "It's the Garden of Eden with a snake, but is the snake jealousy, sex or something else?."
Grace is Good, Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave., New York, New York, 10003. Thurs.-Sat. at 8 p.m. and Sun. at 3 p.m. May 31-June 17. $18, $15 students and seniors. (212) 254-1109 or www.theaterforthenewcity.net.