Despite the popularity of “Seventh Heaven” and “The Passion of the Christ, ” few contemporary plays are driven by evangelical Christian themes of God and religion. Craig Wright’s “Grace” (currently at Northlight in Skokie) is an exception, but that’s really all it has going for it. A young couple moves to a generically bland apartment complex in Florida where their marriage deteriorates faster than an eroding coastline. He is a self-described prayer warrior who says things like, “I’m not a knower, I’m a believer.” She is less zealous and a bit lonely home alone all day, and so naturally takes up with their neighbor, an introvert recovering from a near-fatal car accident. Popping in near the start, and again at the very end, is the exterminator (played with relaxed ease by Mike Nussbaum), who offers some withering thoughts on the question of God’s existence. All four characters suffer a crisis of faith—whether it is a literal faith in God, or a more generalized faith in oneself and life overall—big issues rendered as the stuff of soapy cartoon, amounting to an hour-and-forty-five-minutes worth of “so what?” The same old arguments get rehashed—if God exists, why is there such horrific suffering?—but they don’t shed much light on who these people are, or why we should care about their inner turmoil. Wright, a Pulitzer nominee who is best known for his writing on “Six Feet Under,” has accomplished far more in some of his other plays—notably “Orange Flower Water” (at the Steppenwolf a couple years ago) which showed the lacerating affects of a marriage in breakdown mode—but his efforts here are wholly (and perhaps holy) unsatisfying. (Nina Metz)
This production is now closed.