Theater archives

Gray Days


Before his suicide three years ago, Spalding Gray captivated audiences with his playful, profound, and sometimes stingingly satirical confessional monologues. It’s possible to revisit the sharp yet refreshingly plainspoken mind of this artist thanks to Stories Left to Tell, a theatrical collage of Gray’s published and unpublished writing. Developed from an evening that paid tribute to Gray’s 65th birthday, Stories could have had the feel of a maudlin memorial. Under Lucy Sexton’s direction, the production simply brings to mind Gray’s own jauntily exuberant
performance style. Sexton only oversteps once, when, just as the text recounts a car accident which virtually incapacitated Gray, she has her five- member ensemble push piles of the notebooks that dot the stage to the floor.

Gray’s personality comes to life courtesy of the four who read from selections that have been divided into categories: “Adventure” (Hazelle Goodman), “Family” (Frank Wood), “Journals” (Ain Gordon), and “Love” (Kathleen Chalfant). A new guest artist appears each week to perform selections from Gray’s prose about his career. Together they capture Gray’s spirit marvelously, and remind audiences of how, even when addressing the darkest subjects, Gray could delight.
Andy Propst