‘Doubt’at Rabbit Run’ good as any production
By ROGER SMITH - For the Star Beacon
Star Beacon The Star Beacon Fri Jun 24, 2011, 01:00 AM EDT
MADISON — Having seen “Doubt” at The Cleveland Play House and on the silver screen, the goal for seeing the play at Rabbit Run Theater on Chapel Road was simply to answer a question: Does this version measure up to others that have been produced in the area?
One’s perspective is called into play once the curtain goes up on “Doubt,” the script that addresses the questionable actions of a Catholic priest toward a 12-year-old boy who is a student in St. Nicholas Parish School where Father Flynn is the pastor. Many people — even after viewing the 80 minute/no intermission offering — still were ‘on the fence’ about whether Father Flynn was guilty of the things Sister Aloysius accused him of doing.
At Rabbit Run, audience members have the opportunity to stay after the show for coffee, desserts and the sharing of perspectives and asking questions about the play. Needless to say, when 30 or more people are in conversation and offering their own ideas, it is impossible to definitely conclude anything other than “I’m not sure.” Though the scene is set in 1964, the show plays to an audience that, sadly, has seen that same theme time and time again in the last 10 years on the front pages of newspapers.
Expect your own perspective to be influenced by the stellar performance of Nancy Shimonek Brooks in the role of Sister Aloysius, whose accent alone lets you know she is street wise. Brooks’ portrayal of the determined nun who has to deal with many factors as she decides whether to pursue her ‘gut feeling’ about Father Flynn elicits a variety of emotions which range from distaste of her actions to cheering her on.
Maria Thomas Lister is cast in the role of Mrs. Muller, the mother of the youngster in question. Mrs. Muller, a person of color, is the mother of the young boy who is the only black student in the school. Lister’s performance is outstanding as she confronts Sister Aloysius’ fears and her own, as well.
Sister James, Aloysius’s on-again / off-again supporter, is very ably played by Evie Koh. In her role as the 8th grade teacher with the desire to know her students and have them know her, Sister. James may very well be the catalyst for Sr. Aloysius’ hidden doubt. Koh, too, was excellent in her assigned role.
Father Brendan Flynn is portrayed by David Malinowski. As a parish priest, Malinowski was strong and kind. As the one who was accused of improper behavior with the young boy, Malinowski’s Father Flynn exhibited strengths and weaknesses as he plead to be believed — thereby raising the doubt. Malinowski was able to move in and out of moods and stances with ease, the sign of a weathered priest and a seasoned actor.
Back to the question: Does this version measure up to others that have been produced in the area? Quite simply put, the answer is yes. As a matter of fact, it may surpass most.
“Doubt – A Parable” runs tonight and Saturday night at 8. Tickets may be reserved by phoning the Rabbit Run Theater box office at428-7092.