A Muslim, a Jew, a Black and a WASP go into a bar... no, wait, that's another story. In this one they sit down to dinner at GableStage and spit out the collected venom of race, religion and sex in eighty minutes.
It's the 2013 Pulitzer Prize winning Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar, a Pakistani born in America, who jams his piece with the unfairness of life for U.S. born Muslims, the perfidy amongst friends, the perils of adultery, the world of Muslim art and all the ulcer inducing events of recent history. TSA and NRA, the Taliban and Jihardists, all there. The Koran and the Talmud are not forgotten.
Armando Acevedo plays power lawyer Amir Kapoor, Pakistani born, Muslim raised, passing as an Indian, denying his religion. Betsy Graver is Emily, his wife, painter, and defender of the underdog. Gregg Weiner is Isaac, art collector and Emily's agent and other things, and Karen Stephens is Jory, married to Isaac and an ambitious fellow lawyer at the firm employing Amir. Angel Dominguez is Abe, once Hussein but trying to fit in. He is Amir's nephew, and the catalyst.
The classic cliché troika: the road to hell is paved with good intentions, no good deed goes unpunished and nice guys finish last, runs through Disgraced.
Fascinating at times, with an instant of surprising brutality, Disgraced is well acted by an excellent cast under Joe Adler's direction but this does little to hide the sense that the story is preordained. Hints are dropped, results are not unexpected. After lights up, no one rushes into the night shouting Huzzah. But it is a vital piece. You will talk about it on the long drive home.
Production values, as always with GableStage, are high. Lyle Baskin designed the Manhattan apartment with its in the sky balcony, luxurious living and dining rooms and kitchen. Jeff Quinn designed the lights and Matt Corey the delightfully appropriate music. Costumes by Ellis Rillman
Disgraced plays at GableStage through November 1. 1200 Anastasia Avenue, Coral Gables. 305-445-1119 www.gablestage.org/