DOUBT presented the Covedale Center for the Performing Arts through Feb. 12. Click here for more information on the production. I attended the opening Sunday matinee performance.
Given the setting for DOUBT, it seemed appropriate Sunday afternoon that the Covedale Center is down the street from the Catholic grade school I attended. The set, costumes, and tone of the performances rang true with my memories of the years I spent there.
Although set in 1964, the play was first produced in 2004, at which time the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal was making headlines around the world. The play focuses on and explores themes such as faith, perception and personal truth that resonate strongly in today’s world.
Director Lindsey Augusta Mercer has assembled an extremely talented four-person cast to tackle this engrossing, Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play. Mercer’s steady hand creates real and sympathetic characters and allows the audience to draw their own conclusions as the story unfolds.
Rory Sheridan, as Father Brendan Flynn, is pitch-perfect as the new, more modern priest who believes that the congregation should be viewed as an extended family. His confrontations with Sister Aloysius had a great balance of patience and bite.
As school principal Sister Aloysius Beauvier, Martha Slater embodies an old-school nun who feels she needs to stay vigilant to the evils of the world, both big and small. As representatives of the faith, she feels it is more appropriate to be feared than loved. Has her outlook on life tainted her faith or are her concerns real?
Maggie Lou Rader nails the role of the young nun. Sister James is energetic, though a bit naive, and happy as a teacher. Seeing Sister James’ open heart as a liability, the elder nun soon has the 8th grade teacher questioning her perceptions of the world around her.
Rounding out the cast is Joy Rolland-Oba who portrays Mrs. Muller, the mother of the boy caught in the middle of this he said/she said quarrel. Her circumstances leave the mother stuck with two equally unattractive choices and Rolland-Oba is equal parts concerned and conflicted.
The set consists of three double sided trucks smartly positioned as far downstage as possible. The lighting works well in tightly defining the play areas. I also found the music played between scenes was smartly chosen. The one small thing that briefly drew me out of the moment was when the stained glass window billowed due to a slamming door.
Simply, one of the best drama productions of the season and definitely worth a trip to the west side.
My rating: 5 out of 5
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