Graces is a “theatrical” one-act which might be described as a ‘play-around-a-play.’ Within it, students who are rehearsing a play become entangled in conflicts which they are seeking to dramatically represent as the line between their real and assumed identities becomes blurred beyond distinction. These three women, one a returning student in her late thirties, and the other two profoundly different women in their late twenties, are forced to deal with themselves and one another during the course of an afternoon’s rehearsal. As a result of their conflicts, each is brought to a point of revelation about herself. Also, each is brought to a point understanding about the experience of the others. Through this process of confrontation and resolution, a common purpose is established among them. The events of the afternoon both define and unify the women. As a result of the inherent conflicts which erupt among them, the production of the play they will perform together becomes a strengthened and unified work.

Graces, by Chicago playwright Jeff Helgeson, is a study in the presentation of archetypal images and patterns within a contemporary setting. The play is founded on the mythological motif of the three goddesses (Hera, Aphrodite, and Athena) as embodiments of the primary feminine characteristics of nurturing, understanding, and sensuality. Built upon this strong base within the general (or “collective”) unconscious, GRACES, nevertheless, offers a specifically modern, psychological drama that deals with the issues of female identity as they are defined within the late 20th century.

Kimberley Moe
Department of Philosophy, DePaul University

Graces has been produced at Stage Left Theatre in Chicago, and at Workhouse Theatre in New York, as well as in a student production at The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. It was also selected for production in Liverpool, England.