note: entire contents copyright 2016 by Richard Pacheco
John Patrick Shanley’s “Doubt” is a haunting and provocative play set in 1964 at a Catholic Church under the cloud of potential sexual misconduct. The production is riveting and powerful with a rich resonance the echoes throughout with excellent directing and staunch and memorable performances. It is all about uncertainty and how unlikely it is to ever know the truth.
The Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award winning play is riveting as it deals with uncertainty and moving to judgment with little or no proof. This is the attracting of the play, which deals not in certainties but rather uncertainties and suspicions.
Donna Sorbello is the fierce, relentless and doubting Sister Aloysius who was marred before entering the order. She is deeply jealous of Father Flynn’s efforts to help ht only black boy in the school who is under pressure and doesn’t feel like it fits in while the priest tries to help him, inspire him and comfort him to the dismay of the nun. Sorbello is pitch perfect as the determined nun with dark visions of misconduct.
Greg London is Father Flynn a genuinely caring priest who opens his heart to the young boy to help him fit into the school. He has an easy going demeanor that is inviting and pleasant and Leonard deftly conveys the compassion in the priest and his dislike of the nun’s harshness and relentless spirit. He is more the embodiment of the church’s spirit and attitude than she is.
The final member of this superb cast is Lovely Hoffman as black altar boy’s mother who admires Father Flynn and appreciates his the attention he shows her son, who suffers enough from his father with beatings and disapproval. It is a stunning performance albeit brief and when she confronts Sister Aloysius about the allegations about her son and the priest it is powerful and riveting.
Artistic director Aimee Turner delivers her best directing job on a comedy or drama to date. She evokes, provokes the best from her actors with skill and finesse.
Erik D. Diaz’s set is superb. Simply stunning as it adroitly evokes not only the church, but Sister Aloysius’ office and outside in the garden with an attention to detail and imagination.
Add all these elements together and you have a winning production that resonates with sincerity and rich subtleties.