Sherri Wade plays Gloria, a transplant from New York City, and Vicky Barta plays 90-year-old Grace, a Virginia native nearing death - submitted photo

REVIEW: ‘Grace and Glorie’ a moving tale of death and friendship

Two women convey characters convincingly and with humour

In stories where two opposites fall into the same world, there’s often a thread that manages to tie them together. Something, somehow, connects them.

Although not suprising, it’s more satisfying than two likely characters falling in love or a couple of people that make sense getting through hardship together.

This dynamic is displayed across the decades and when it makes its stop in Grace and Glorie, it hits home in a special kind of way.

The latest ECHO Players production, written by Tom Ziegler and directed by Kelly Barnum, the story of an elderly rural woman nearing death and a young woman, fresh from New York City, who comes to take care of her, confronts themes of mortality and friendship in a refreshing and straight forward way.

Vicky Barta is able to capture her multi-faceted character, 90-year-old Grace, with a sense of ease. She’s an old, sick woman who describes herself as a “redneck.”

Coming off as ingenuine or hokey while speaking in a Virginian accent could have been easily fatal to the play, but Barta managed to embody her character earnestly and with candor. It’s the highlight of Grace and Glorie — a performance so convincing, you forget you’re 5,000 kilometres away from the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The eye is drawn to Barta throughout the play who doesn’t stop moving, breathing or speaking as Grace for a moment.

The mountains of Virginia were realized spot on in a set that seemed to capture a moment in between life and death.

Half-finished quilts lined the side of the stage, embroidery sat beside the old wooden dining set. You get the feeling that Grace’s life stopped mid-stitch when she got sick.

Gloria, the toney Harvard MBA graduate, ably played by Sherri Wade, is a harder character to swallow. Initially coming off as cold, she softens as the play goes on. Little by little, the audience is able to see an in-depth character, and the more we get to know Gloria, the better the play becomes.

Perhaps less comedy than the audience expected, the play confronts death head on, instead of dancing around it.

Grace teaches lessons about morality in a subtle and beautiful way, without trying to or sounding trite. At the play’s end, you’re left with a feeling that Grace’s lessons will stay with Gloria, and perhaps leave her changed forever.

Punchy lines delivered throughout the play, usually of the sarcastic, self-deprecating variety, received laughs from the crowd.

No doubt a demanding feat for a cast of just two people, the two-hour play relies soley on Wade and Barta to hold the other up.

The connection from the two is apparent.

Just like their charcters, these women have been through something together, and it translates to the stage.

Ultimately, the play was well-received by the loyal and attentive audience that any ECHO play attracts.

The show will continue to run until Sunday, Oct. 27 at 2 p.m. at the Village Theatre at 110 West 2nd Ave, Qualicum Beach.

Tickets are $23 regular admission, $20 for seniors and $14 for seniors and can be purchased online at echoplayers.ca.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Parksville offers information about coronavirus

Says chances of getting COVID-19 locally are currently low

Popular TV series ‘Chesapeake Shores’ renewed for season five

Hallmark Channel show to return to filming in Parksville Qualicum Beach area

Shantz finishes second, happy for B.C. curling champ

Michayluk finally a victor at provincial women’s senior bonspiel

RDN bylaw allows people experiencing homelessness to camp overnight in some parks

Board of directors unanimously passes park use regulations bylaw

Parksville council votes against OCP amendment, squashing 130 Shelly Rd. development

Vote comes almost a month after residents unanimously spoke out against plan

Clothing, jewelry, purses: RCMP ask court about disposal of evidence in Robert Pickton case

Pickton was sentenced to life with no chance of parole for 25 years for the murders of six women

Speaker ‘will not tolerate illegal activity’ on B.C. legislature grounds, says chief of staff

Chief of staff to the B.C. speaker Alan Mullen says situation with demonstrators appears ‘fluid’

MPs to examine privacy implications of facial-recognition technology used by RCMP

The MPs will look at how the technology affects the privacy, security and safety of children

Dates back to 2009: Calgary police lay charges in fraud involving semi-trucks

Three people from Calgary are facing charges that include fraud over $5,000

Comox 442 Squadron carries out two sea rescue missions north of Vancouver Island

Submitted by Lt. Alexandra Hejduk Special to Black Press 442 Transport and… Continue reading

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs optimistic ahead of talks with feds, province

Discussions with provincial and federal governments expected to start later today

‘The project is proceeding’: Horgan resolute in support of northern B.C. pipeline

B.C. premier speaks as talks scheduled with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

BREAKING: Kelowna RCMP to further investigate 12 sexual assault cases, create sexual assault unit

Recommendations come five months after it was revealed 40% of sexual assaults were deemed ‘unfounded’

Most Read