By Kimberly Peterson

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Physical disabilities continue to be a delicate issue in today's world, but playwright Patrick Baliani's latest drama tackles the subject in an unusual light through the eyes of children.

Reckless Grace revolves around the lives of 10 characters who all are grappling with some form of disability, from blindness to cerebral palsy.

Baliani, an English professor and adviser at the UA, wrote the drama while observing disabled children in the Third St. Kids performing arts program.

"I wanted a play that dealt with their disabilities and transcended them," Baliani said. "In some ways their disabilities become a means for strength."

Reckless Grace was a collaborative effort, written, altered and often re-altered to fit the personalities of the actors in Third St. Kids, who will be performing the drama, Baliani said.

"I took them through a series of creative recollective exercises," he said. "We traded passages and wrote elements of each other's lives. It was a way for the players to make the script theirs."

Baliani also relied on the input of director David Greenwood, musical director Jeff Moyer and founder Marcia Berger in writing Reckless Grace. The group first began improvising on the play's themes at a retreat last summer, he said.

Working with children is a new experience for Baliani, 35, whose previous works include Figs and Red Wine and Namib Spring, written for adult actors.

"I love working with the kids," he said. "In many ways they are just like working with adult actors because they have the same turmoils, the same struggles and the same frustrations, but you see them much more pronounced."

Reckless Grace will run May 6-8 at the Tucson Center for the Performing Arts, 408 S. Sixth Ave. Shows begin at 7:30 on May 6-7 and 2:30 on May 8. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children. Call 750-7965 for more information. Read Next Article