Fringe review: ‘Full of Grace,’ Feline Five, Orlando
By Elizabeth Maupin
Not every Fringe performer gets a one-woman drama written just for her. But Kathy Baker Wood is not just any Fringe performer: Last year she won the Fringe’s best-actress award in The Dream Jar, and this year she’s back in Full of Grace, a solo piece she wrote with Dream Jar’s Mik Jacobs. It’s an engaging script, but the best thing about it is that it lets you spend nearly an hour with Wood.
In Full of Grace she’s an elderly Irish woman, fond of her bottle and stuck in her dingy apartment, who comes upon a statuette of the Virgin Mary. She begins talking to the statue, and before you know it she’s telling the story of a girl who got pregnant and whose baby was taken away from her at birth.
That the girl and the woman are one and the same should be no surprise, and neither should the two monologues that follow, each of them delivered by women who are thrown by motherhood. And that the Virgin Mary was once in a similar situation makes Wood and Jacobs’s script a little neat for comfort – not to mention the fact that I’ve never known anybody to talk to a statue for that long.
Yet it’s a pleasure to watch and listen to Wood create her three characters – the stooped-over, cantankerous elderly woman (if she had a name, I missed it); the short-tempered, shortsighted career woman, Chloe, who breezes in midway through; and the track-suited young American woman, Allison, who stumbles into the unfamiliar house at the end.
Wood has a low, earthy voice, and her body seems to change as she shifts from one character to the next. But she seems most at home with Allison, who moves easily in her body and has an open face that lights up the room – as Wood does this play.
Remaining performances: 11:40 p.m. Friday 5/28, 2:15 p.m. Saturday 5/29. Blue venue.