Updated: Oct 25, 2018
"Grave Doubts" is a new play by David Steven Simon that is gaining legs and grabbing attention on both coasts. After an out of town production in Harrisburg, then a reading in L.A., Simon's new play, directed by Asaad Kaleda, had it's first New York reading on October 24th with Tony Danza and Andrea Burns in the leads.
Simon is best known for TV and for his hard-hitting, political uppercuts in the Huffington Post, but with "Grave Doubts" we see none of that. The play is intensely personal. And, with witty lines and hilarious imagery (the play is set six-feet under), Simon finds a rhythm that keeps you entertained, but never distracted from the premise: when a couple is reunited after twenty years, albeit in their graves, will they still get along? Will they still love each other? And, most importantly, can they confront and overcome those hidden secrets that drove them apart above ground?
Danza showed surprising range in his performance and the piece really seemed to strike a chord with him. He wasn't acting...he was in it...fully. It's almost scary to think what he could do with a role like this with the play on its feet and given a month of rehearsal.
Asaad, (The Office, Two and a Half Men) was a pleasure to meet and a genuinely nice guy, a rare find in these times. His work with the cast, though brief, was clear: the leads seemed far more rehearsed than they were and were on the same page.
Also a pleasure to see there was Maho Honda. In the past, I had worked with her on her voice and it is great to see she is blossoming. A recent role in Netflix's "Maniac" with Jonah Hill and Emily Stone, follows a nice role Off-Broadway and a great write-up in the The Times. You literally can't take a bad picture of her.
For ninety minutes, it seemed we might escape politics and the hustle of the busy midtown weekday outside the studio, but alas; of the multiple bombs that were planted around the country today, one was just a block away from the reading. The power of theatre, however, kept us in our seats. We merely shut the windows. Something we all could do more of.