Old Globe Theatre’s ‘The Blameless’ explores moving past tragedy

It’s unlikely to get through life without experiencing bad times. “The Blameless” acknowledges such and takes a look at the happy, close-knit Garcia family striving to overcome a tragic act of violence. Written by Nick Gandiello and directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch, the play has its world premiere at The Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park through March 26.

“Nick is a really great writer with a fantastic ear for dialogue,” Upchurch said. “He’s able to make a very intimate, personal story about one family so universal. When you’re watching the play, you see that his magic includes everyone in the room. It’s fantastic.

“I’m very interested in how we get beyond tragedy and move through life when things don’t go as we plan them. Nick was able to laser-in on this family and how they are coping ... He does an amazing job of injecting grace, humor and pathos ... people writing about tragedy can be sentimental or brutal. In my experience of grief, we as humans have to find joy somewhere and survive. This family that Nick put together is in the process of doing that.”

Upchurch said Gandiello wrote “The Blameless” from his own experiences. His characters must find a way to hold everything together as they welcome to dinner the one man who might help them heal — or reopen their wounds.

“I’m not sure how much really relates to his life,” she said. “But, he did experience loss and is able to tap into that as a writer who has a very broad and deep imagination. The ‘family’ cast gets along very well on and off stage. They have a real respect and love for each other. This production makes me feel less alone in the world, and when we’re going through the process of grief, sadness, tragedy and feeling alone, it can be at the heart of that.”

The cast includes Amara James Aja as Howard Harper, Liza Colón-Zayas as Amanda Garcia, Antoinette LaVecchia as Diana Garcia, Frank Pando as Alex Garcia, Stephen Barker Turner as Drew Davis, and Carmen Zilles as Theresa Garcia.

Upchurch said she hopes people leaving the theater will “feel a sense of community; holding people you love tighter and being steeped in the love that creates fuller lives.”

IF YOU GO: “The Blameless,” runs through March 26 at Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre at The Old Globe, 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park, San Diego. Tickets from $29. (619) 234-5623.