It’s not every play that lists a “rigging consultant” in its credits, and offers special thanks to a local indoor rock climbing gym. But the creative team behind “Grace, or the Art of Climbing,” which is currently being presented at Art House Productions in Jersey City, had to do things a little differently from the norm.
It’s a play about a young woman, Emm (played by Emily Kitchens), who pulls herself out of despair by throwing herself into the sport of rock climbing. And in much of the play, we see her training — struggling with her demons as she strives to scale heights.
She can’t just talk about it. She has to do it, and we have to see her doing it.
She does most of her climbing on the wall of rope pictured above, though director Adin Walker and scenic designer Claire DeLiso also make use of dangling ropes, a ladder, and even bumps on the floor meant to represent the holdholds used on climbing walls at indoor gyms. Obsessed with the sport, Emm climbs and climbs and climbs; Kitchens, appropriately, shows signs of awkwardness early on but grows more graceful on the ropes as the play goes on. She also does a good job at showing the extreme effort necessary to become a master climber (or, really, to succeed at any sport).