Far be it from me to pretend to discuss live theatre with any degree of competence.  In my whole lifetime I have attended less than a dozen live plays, and only one on Broadway.  But I love going to the little local theatres and watching the actors up close.  Yesterday I had the great pleasure of attending the performance of Pulitzer prize winning play Doubt: A Parable, by John Patrick Shanley at TheatreWorks in New Milford CT.  I had previously seen the movie Doubt with Meryl Streep and was looking forward to seeing the play locally with Streep’s role being played by an actress who was a friend of my friend D.   We had seen Noel Desiato  perform  the role of Katharine Hepburn in Tea at Five and knew her to be a very competent actress.  It seemed to us right that the role of Sister Aloysius Beauvier should go to no one but Noel.  Even before we knew she had been cast in the role we ordered tickets for front row seats — fortunately we hit the jackpot – super seats at a award-winning play with a local actress whom we greatly admired.   How much better can it get?

We were not disappointed.  Four actors held us spell-bound without intermission for 90 minutes.  The set kept switching back and forth between the principal’s office in St. Nicholas School in the Bronx, 1964, and a little garden area outside the school.  Presumably the set changes were in lieu of intermission but they were done quickly, in the dark, right before our eyes, and I have nothing but praise for the set designer and the magic that they  worked during those few minutes in the dark.  The furnishings and costumes seemed authentic.  I did wonder, though, if the Sisters back in 1964 had shoes with heels that were quite that high!

At the end of the play, after the bows and hearty applause, I could only say, “We’ve got to stand up!” and up we went.  The whole thing was just that good!

For those who have not seen the movie Doubt I will not attempt a synopsis.   Suffice to say the four characters, Sister Aloysius, Father Flynn, Sister James, and Mrs. Muller are shown in all their complexity, trying to do their version of right, being very human.  The only other relevant person in the play  is Mrs. Muller’s son, Donald, the one black boy in the school, needy of adult male attention,  loved by a mother who is willing to allow questionable attention from Father Flynn because of her son’s neediness  and so he can graduate and move on to the next school.  We never see the boy but his mother is played beautifully.

I greatly enjoyed the movie Doubt, which received many awards and nominations.   But the four-person-play Doubt is a superbly written gem – and yesterday it was beautifully cast and set.

It was a wonderful birthday gift.

Recommended.

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This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. – Matthew 13:13