Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Well now, I just don't know...

Originally uploaded by AlanR.

I went to see the Pulitzer Prize-winning play "Doubt" tonight at the beautiful LaSalle Bank Theater and it was amazing. Lexie and I both believed it would be a drama but, sure enough, the Playbill and assorted advertising guff featured the words "funny" and "hilarious" when lauding it. Curious though we were, we entered the theatre to make our own minds up about this brand new production on its opening night in Chicago.

The story was set in 1964 in a religious school, and involves a nun accusing a priest of inappropriate conduct with a male student. What makes this play most interesting is that clearly this is still a topical matter today and tempers really flared on stage as the actors got into verbal sparring matches. If it wasn't for the incessant coughing of the twits around the audience, you could have heard a pin drop in some scenes; it was that powerful. I shot death glares around the audience so that any serial coughers would be warned....they know who they are!

Anyway, when I left the theater, I couldn't resolve whether the priest was guilty or not. Still, according to the Playbill, that was entirely the point. The acting was terrific and the mood was really intense. It was interesting to watch the charismatic priest whose intentions seemed pure and good, as he fought to bring warmth into the school environment and modernise the classroom, something that simply did not resonate with the set-in-her-ways nun. And then you could equally see the nun's side of the story and admire the strength of her convictions even though flimsy physical evidence was all she had to support her overriding gut feeling that something was fishy. The way that the nun stood up to the priest, clearly in breach of the church's protocol for such things, was electric.

I would suggest that when people talk about "Doubt", they won't be whining that it went for 90 minutes with no intermission. Even someone with my sparrow bladder could overlook that. It was just such a great show - really well written and wonderfully acted, that I was really glad I went, particularly to opening night!

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