Stone Soup Theatre offers up a feisty battle in the war between certainty and doubt with their latest production of Doubt, A Parable. With a tight cast, a small space and a beautifully written script, we are given an opportunity to relive a classic play in all its glory. We are asked, as an audience, what do WE believe? We are given a well-performed piece that transports us to 1960s New York in the inner workings of a Catholic school.
The set was minimal, as is the trend with Stone Soup Theatre, with an almond-colored stage marked by well-placed set pieces. The lighting and sounds were tasteful. The direction was sound as Maureen Hawkins’ Catholic school experience was felt throughout the course of this production. This was an aptly chosen piece for the space and the space itself was utilized well.
Sister Aloysius (Maureen Miko) is played up as a staunch and judgmental nun who accuses the lovable, eccentric priest of her Catholic school of foul play with one of the alter boys. Her intentions are drawn into question as she seems to hold personal grudge against Father Flynn. Lacking hard evidence, she relies on her “certainty” to bring him down. Maureen’s performance was sublime as she summons a cold wit as her anchor in this battle for what is right.
I know that many of us relived the memorable performances of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman upon the news of his tragic death. One of which was his role in the film adaptation of this play in the role of Father Flynn. However, in this production we are treated to a different side of Father Flynn as Jaryl Draper plays up his charismatic and amicable nature, even breaking the fourth wall to deliver his poetic sermons directly to the audience at times. Jaryl shows his acting prowess by running a breadth of emotions and drawing the audience into his personality, regardless of whether or not you believe his is guilty of the acts he is accused of.
Worthy of mention are the performances of Reagan Dickey (Sister James) and Eva Abram (Mrs. Muller). Dickey’s portrayal of Sister James was a relief and gave the audience a place to stand in the middle of the Flynn/Aloysius debate. The beauty of her performance was how she allowed herself to be emotionally tossed like rag doll by the brute force of her superiors. Abram’s role was small, but this reviewer couldn’t help but notice other audience members leaning in on her every word.
The only unfortunate part about seeing this show when I did, was that I can only write this before its final two performances, but if you read this before March 1st, then head to Stone Soup Theatre for some thought-provoking and heart-string-tugging drama.
by Geoff Finney