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At the center of the story is Grace Marks (Ashley Neal in a remarkably controlled yet vulnerable performance devoid of any shred of artifice). She was just 16 years old, and working as a domestic at the beautiful Canadian estate of the dashing bachelor Thomas Kinnear (an aptly smug and seductive Drew Vidal) and his housekeeper-mistress, Nancy Montgomery (Maura Kidwell, who makes jealousy palpable), when, along with James McDermott (fiery David Raymond), an Irish stable boy, she was accused of the brutal murder of both Kinnear and Montgomery.
Ayssette Munoz (from left) plays Mary Whitney, with Amro Salama as Jeremiah and Ashley Neal as Grace Marks in “Alias Grace,” at Rivendell Theatre. (Photo: Michael Brosilow)
Now, many years later, Grace has been transferred from a harsh prison to a supposedly more enlightened facility that is being championed by the socially prominent, controlling (and unhappily married) Mrs. Rachel Lavell (Jane Baxter Miller is haughty privilege and villainy personified). Lavell has lured the young, distinguished, handsome and Laudanum-addicted Dr. Simon Jordan (the ever-superb Steve Haggard, in a performance that brings a wonderfully unstable charge to the stage) to test out his “talk therapy” technique on Grace, who has long claimed she has no memory of the events surrounding the double murder.
It gradually becomes quite clear that few of the people in Grace’s past, as well as in her current situation, are without their own twisted motives and obsessions — a fact that puts any definitive assessment of her guilt or innocence intriguingly up for grabs. She is unquestionably the victim of many traumatic circumstances. She might also be suffering from mental illness.
In flashbacks we see the naive but exceptionally smart and observant young Grace attracted by the attentions of McDermott, Kinnear and a visiting American peddler, Jeremiah (Amro Salama, an inspired charlatan), who wants her to become his partner in an illusionist’s act. Kinnear’s attention to Grace clearly riles Nancy, and she also detests the rambunctious James. And like all women of her time and station, Grace is terrified of becoming pregnant, losing her job and ending up on the street as a prostitute. She also is profoundly traumatized by the death from an abortion of her more worldly and beloved friend, Mary Whitney (the high-spirited Ayssette Munoz).
In the present we see even more corruption as Lavell wields her power over Dr. Jordan, as Jordan becomes erotically drawn to Grace, and as lust as well as money and power games corrupt serious science.
Elvia Moreno’s tomb-like scenic design (with lighting by Michael Mahlum), along with Janice Pytel’s class-defining costumes, suggest the eerily gothic yet sadly realistic worlds in which Grace (and all her possible selves) dwell. Chilling.
One final note: On Oct. 11, Atwood will be honored in Chicago with the Carl Sandburg Literary Award, presented by the Chicago Public Library Foundation and Chicago Public Library. “Alias Grace” runs through Oct. 15, and it can only be hoped that the author makes a stop at Rivendell to catch this disturbing, finely rendered interpretation of her work.
Steve Haggard plays Dr. Simon Jordan and Jane Baxter Miller is Mrs. Rachel Lavell in the Rivendell Theatre production of “Alias Grace.” (Photo: Michael Brosilow)
Salma Hayek’s 10 sexiest roles (PHOTOS & VIDEO)
That’s basically what the trailer for Salma Hayek’s new movie Americano made me scream this morning. She’s starring as a Tijuana stripper and prostitute who just happens to be incredibly gorgeous and in amazing shape. Can you believe this mami is actually 45 years old?! I sure can’t.
I remember seeing her famous snake dance in From Dusk Till Dawn 16 years ago… and honestly, her body looks just as incredible today as it did then. Not only is the Salma gorgeous, she has an adorable little girl and billionaire husband, can act, direct and produce and she’s flaunting her amazing body! If I didn’t love her so much.
This definitely isn’t the first time she’s baring (almost) all for a role. Take a look at Salma Hayek’s 10 sexiest roles of the past and join me in my amazement. I hope I look half as good when I’m 45!
What do you think of Salma in the trailer for Americano? What’s your favorite sexy look of hers in the movies? Share with us in the comments below!
Image via MPI Films.
Image via MPI Films.
Well, I haven’t seen this drama yet. but doesn’t Salma look AMAZING? She plays Lola and her 45-year-old body has never looked better.
‘Significant’ Increase in Prostitution Rings in Damascus and Countryside: Attorney General.
The top prosecutor in the Damascus countryside confirmed that there has been a significant increase in the number of prostitution rings in the area.
Attorney general Maher al-Albi said in comments to the Al-Watan newspaper, which is close to the regime, on Wednesday that poverty and the population density in some areas of Damascus and its countryside were the basic factor for the spread of prostitution.
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