How the Light Gets in

Even though Grace is a successful travel writer, she is so alone and vulnerable that unpleasant news sends her tumbling, grasping at anything to make her feel safe. Keeping up a good front (she says, “Usually I only cry in parking garages”), Grace (as realized by the excellent Tonya Beckman) embarks on a journey that propels this intimate story, well suited to the confines of 1st Stage’s playing space. Unexpectedly, she finds support from a runaway (Madeline Regina), a tattoo artist (Joel Ashur) with a bit of mystic mystery about him, and a Japanese architect with a huge case of designer’s block. Jacob Yeh as Haruki, the flummoxed architect, brings a solidity that enfolds Grace (yes, there is some sweet origami) and proves to be what she needs to move forward.

This 90-minute tale has a bit of whimsy that brings to mind the work of Sarah Ruhl; Ashur and Regina serve as narrators and Greek chorus to keep the story clicking along.

Kathryn Kawecki’s set design is exceptional, giving us an enchanting, cozy Japanese garden that doubles as various other spaces.

  • How the Light Gets in, by E. M. Lewis, directed by Alex Levy, 1st Stage, Tysons, Va.