Through April 2
FALL FROM THE GRACE OF GOD ART of WNY/Compass Performing Arts Center
Assemblies of one-act plays on stage aren’t anything new locally.
Just look at Alleyway’s annual “Buffalo Quickies,” which is soon to close.
Over in what used to be TheatreLoft on Elmwood, it’s a collection of one-acters, but it’s different.
ART built “Fall From The Grace of God” on the music of The Pogues, within the structure of an Irish dive bar, stories unfolding and closing as the customers continue the performers, as John F. Kennedy’s “Me Brother” flows into “Fairytale in New York” and so on.
It’s the only show I can remember around here with a focus on Timon-St. Jude High School although I think it was just Timon back in the days of the history stories.
In keeping with the history and religion in the later stages of the show, we meet Mr. Scratch (Monish Bhattacharyya), who is forced to walk back taking the soul of Petey (Ian Michalski) and then (in a piece written by Bhattacharyya) duels for souls.
The entire show features music from The Dirty Old Band, led by Susan King, who has a couple of roles in the entire show.
There’s even some Irish step dancing.
It’s all a look at life, drinking and growing up and generations of a family, like King’s history on Broadway and deciding not to go back for another shot.
I thought the best story was Timothy Joyce’s “Love in a Time of Change” featuring the entire cast.
It’s life in a certain ethnic category in what’s always considered ethnic South Buffalo, even if it isn’t really anymore.
The show feels a little long but it is interesting and perhaps a harbinger of future collections of one-act plays.
The collective directors, Catherine Burkart, Matthew LaChiusa, Stefanie Warnick and Steve Vaughan do a good job stitching all the different plays together, to make it seem more like a late night of drinking and storytelling in an Irish bar.
“Fall from the Grace of God” is an interesting look at what the local theater community can do, scripts, cast, an accurate build of a dive bar and a really good idea.
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