Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Florida - Southern

Disgraced
Gablestage
Review by Jeffrey Bruce | Season Schedule

Also see Jeffrey's review of Promises, Promises


Greg Weiner, Betsy Graver, Armando Acevedo, and Karen Stephens
Photo by George Schiavone
A Pulitzer? Really? Remember the days of "the snob hit", usually Pinter, that every Park Avenue matron described as "sublime" or the old standby, "divine?" Then, when you went to see it, you only thought of "The Emperor's New Clothes"? I know I am in the minority, but with Ayad Akhtar's Disgraced, there is definitely no "there" there.

It's a predictable, cliché-ridden piece. There is upperclass Middle Eastern husband Amir (Armando Acevedo) and his vapid, wife Emma (the gorgeous Betsy Graver does what she can with the shallowest role as written) Their friends Jory and Isaac, she's black, he's Jewish, come to dinner and the fireworks begin. Thanks to the talents of both Karen Stephens and Gregg Weiner as Jory and Isaac, the pace picks up to a level which is sorely needed at that point.

Prejudice, self-hatred, "I want you to be proud of me", 9/11, face-spitting, wife-beating, you name it, it's in the predictable 80 minutes. Director Joseph Adler has missed the opportunities to mine more depth from several of the actors, especially his leading man. The opening scene is stagnant and snail-paced, due to his wooden delivery, which stays wooden throughout. When his young nephew, who is trying desperately to merge with the white culture, appears, he relaxes a tad and we see a bit of backstory that is absent in the rest of his performance.

On the brighter side, the set of a lovely penthouse, by Lyle Baskin, is gorgeous, the lighting by Jeff Quinn is mood-enhancing, and best of all, the sound by Matt Corey is superb.

Mr. Adler should be praised for the noblest of tries. Gablestage is one of the best theatres in South Florida. He is, to coin a platitude, a South Florida treasure. He stretches the audience's intelligence and attention time after time and we all appreciate it. They can't all be winners, but everyone involved should be commended for giving it their all.

Disgraced runs through November 1, 2015, at Gablestage. 1200 Anastasia Avenue, Coral Gables, FL. 305-445-1119 or www.gablestage.org.


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