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March 10, 2017     Post-Gazette
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March 10, 2017

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POST-GAZEI-rE, MARCH 10, 2017 PAGE 5 A Frank De Pasquale Venture A Moving Look at the Challenges of Being Kind Grand Concourse SpeakEasy Stage Alejandro Simons, Melinda Lope--, Ally Dawson, and Thomas Derrah. (Photo by Glenn Perry) The SpeakEasy production of Grand Concourse by Heidi Schreck now playing at the Calderwood Pavilion in Boston's South End is one of those truly wonderfial theatre experiences that touches on so many emotions. There are four characters in this play that takes place in the food preparation area of a soup kitchen in the Bronx. As the play progresses, the depth and struggles of each of these individuals becomes more apparent. It is impossible to watch this work and not become emotionally invested in each one of them. Shelly, played by Melinda Lopez, is the Catholic nun who runs the kitchen. She is committed to her work but is having doubts about her faith and purpose. She practices praying while using a microwave timer. Shelly is a kind and compas- sionate human being, but is that enough and what does it mean to be compassionate? Melinda Lopez brings depth and warmth to Shelly. I felt I had known her for years. One day Emma, a college dropout, stops by and offers to volunteer. At first, she seems like a young person Who wants to do something good, but as the play progresses we see there is much more going on with her. Played by the very talented Ally Dawson, Emma is very manipulative and makes things quite difficult for the others. She also ac- complishes much good while pushing the others to the limits of their compassion. Ms. Dawson handles this very complex character perfectly. I.t is an emotional roller coaster watching her, and I have to say I felt drained by her actions. However, it was in a way that made me feel good in the sense that I was forced to look more deeply into someone whom it would have been very easy to write off as superficial and self-absorbed. Thomas Derrah plays Frog, a homeless man who has been a regular at the soup kitchen for some time. In between telling and selling jokes to the others, he also spins his philosophy on life and insights into people and society. I have seen Mr. Derrah perform for more years than I would like to admit, and I have to say it would be a challenge to find an actor who can match him for how consistently good he is. He certainly does not disappoint here. He makes many entrances and exits in the course of this production and each one is fresh and outstanding. Oscar, played by Alejandro Simoes, is the main- tenance man. He is funny and kind. Oscar was a dental student in his native Dominican Republic and is now struggling to put a life together in the United States and marry his girlfriend Rosa. At first he appears to be a fairly light character, but Mr. Simoes treats us to a man who has weak- nesses and conflict but is filled with decency_ He truly touches us with his goodness. Grand Concourse easily could have been a very predictable and formulaic work about people helpirrg people and getting caught up with the conflicts in their own lives:At first I thought that's where it was going. What author Heidi Schreck has given us is a play that goes much deeper than that. I was very moved by this play. It compelled me to ask just what it means to have compassion and what its limits. The Catholic social activ- ist Dorothy Day once said her purpose was to comfort the afflicted and al~ct the comfortable. Well, it's not always easy to tell who is afflicted and who is comfortable. I have to admit I left the theatre emotionally spent. It was an amazing afternoon watching terrific actors working with a fine script that was well-directed and staged beautifully. I highly recommend Grand Concourse. The SpeakEasy Stage has done it again and this is a play not to be missed. You will be deeply moved by what you see. Directed by Bridget Kathleen O'Leary the SpeakEasy Stage at the Calderwood Pavilion South End, Boston;'for more information, go to: or call 617-933-8600 Mar Bricco Seafood, Crudo & Oyster Bar Boutique Italian Cuisine 000 000 More P1oce 241 Hanover St. - 6t 7.248.6800 223 Hac~ave St 617,723.MA1~ Trattoria II PanJno Quath'o Boston's 1st Grille, Rosticc~ & Pizzeria Original Trattoria OOO 000 266 Honorer St, 617.720.&4 l l Pormenler St. - 617.720. ! 3-36 Sflzl Bricco Panetteda Mediterranean Topos Bar Homemade Coming Soon Artisan Breads 000 000 135 Richmond Sl. 8dcco Place 241 Hanover St, 617.248,9859 Brlcco Salumerla Gelateria It, Cannoli & Pasta shoppe Factory Voted Best Sandwiches o o o Homemade GeloIo & Connol~ Bricco Place o 0 o 241 Honorer St. * 617.248.9629 272 Hartove~ St, 64 Crc~s St. {nex! to 8riCco Ponetletio) 6 t 7,720.4243 It's Time for Spring, SPRING aEANING THAT IS!l/ North End Friends of St. condition to their Flea Market. Francis House will be hosting its All items can be. droi~ped Annual Flea Market and Bake off at the Nazzaro Center, 30 Sale to support the St. Francis N. Bennet Street, North End, House Homeless Shelter. The Boston, starting on Monday, event will be on Friday, April 7th, April 3rd, through Thursday, from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, and April 6th, onlyIll Saturday, April 8th, from 9:00 PLEASE NO CLOTHES, am to 1:00 pm at the Nazzaro COMPUTERS, CAR SEATS, or Center. UNCLEANED ITEMSI So, clean out your closets, Also, you can help by collecting storage units, and cellars your spare change over the next and donate your unwanted month and donating it on April household items, records, 7 or 8th- it adds up fast. CDs, books, small appliances, For more information or collectibles, toys, games, sports questions, please contact John equipment, jewelry, and similar Romano at jromano45~mail. items that are clean and in good corn. Thanks in advance for your support// Golda's Balcony By William Gibson, Directed by Judy Braha March 25-April 16, 2017 BEREA VEMEXT BUFFET S/Z 95 ..... New Repertory Theatre presents Golda's Balcony in the Main Stage Theater at the Mosesian Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA. =As one of the first demo- cratically elected female heads'of state, Golda Meir's historic rise cannot be understated," says Artistic Director Jim Petosa. ~Golda's Balcony is a cornerstone in a season we've entitled "Prologues as we look back through history to inform the present. At a time when our current political environment is in flux and America's standing on the world stage is at a critical june- ture, it is illuminating to produce plays that continue to examine today through the lens of the pastl =New Rep is thrilled to welcome back Bobble Steinbach to our stage after appearing in a number of productions over the years including most recently our smash-hit revival of Fiddler on the Roof last December," says Managing Director Harriet Sheets."Bobbie brings with her a creative energy that is unmatched in the Greater Boston theatre community, and we welcome all to join us for our much-an-. ticipated production of Golda's Balcony this spring.'Golda's Balcony follows Golda Meir from her humble beginnings as a Wisconsin school teacher to her meteoric rise through Israel's early political system, becoming one of the world's first elected female heads of state and one of the most influential women in Israel's history. For more information, go to: FUNCTION FA CILITY Please accept sincere condolences, from the Spinelli's family and staff. During this difficult time, we would like to offer our facility at a specially reduced price, for you, your family and friends. SERVED UPON ARRIVAL Coffee, Mini.Danish Pastries and Tea Breads BUFFET LUNCI-mON MENU Tossed Salad, Assorted Rolls with Butter Chicken, Ziti and Broccoli Alfredo Eggplant Parmigiana Italian Sausages, Onions and Potatoes Above price does not include a 15% Administration Fee and a 7% Mdss State Tax. 280 BENNINGTON STREET, EAST BOSTON, MA I Charlestown Little League Baseball ,. Telephone: 617-567-4499 Registration Now.Open~ . The Federal Trade Commission Residents and students of Charlestown and For more info and to register online, go to l works for the consumer to prevent fraud and deception. the North End are eligible to play. Call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) i C>aestion on the League. Email us at .,__ .. 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