BWW Review: DOUBT at Theater 294

BWW Review: DOUBT at Theater 294

John Patrick Shanley's "Doubt: A Parable" has become a brilliant and powerful addition to the canon of American drama since its debut in 2004. The play would go on to win the highest accolades out there: the 2005 Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for Best Play and most notably, the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It would also be adapted into an Academy Award-winning film starring Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Over the next few weekends, Long Island theatregoers will have the opportunity to see the now classic play in action at the newly renovated Theater 294 in East Farmingdale - an intimate space where the action plays out only a few feet from your seat.

The play deals with serious, controversial subject matter as a nun and Bronx school principal, Sister Aloysius must decide what to do when she suspects a priest of improper relations with one of the school's male students.

Judith Anderson, an actress with more than 50 years of experience with Long Island regional and community theater, gives a powerful performance as Sister Aloysius - a conservative, by the book presence who instills the fear of God in her students. She commands the stage in her determination to find truth and overcome doubt as she recruits the young Sister James to take down the priest in question - Father Brendan Flynn.

Jennifer Alexander, a prolific presence in both the Long Island and New York City theatre scene, is simply superb as Sister James, a young nun and schoolteacher. She radiates innocence and her internal struggle to deal with the allegations against a priest she respects is palpable.

Charles Calabrese, who also directed the production, is another force to be reckoned with as Father Flynn. A more down-to-earth foil to Sister Aloysius, Calabrese's Flynn is charismatic and everything you would expect a priest to be, which makes the allegations against him even more startling.

And that is where the heart of the show lies - in the doubt of it all.

In a note to the audience, Mr. Calabrese expresses it perfectly: "In a real sense, this play is not simply about priests, nuns, the church, or the transgression. It is, in fact, about doubt - doubting what you know to be true, doubting your judgement, and doubting yourself."

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Performance Dates: April 21,22, 29, and May 5 and 6 at 7 p.m and a 3 p.m. matinee on April 30.

Location: Theater 294, 294 Farmingdale Rd. (Route 109), East Farmingdale

Contact: (917) 825-7374

Tickets available at doubtli.brownpapertickets.com by credit card or at the box office prior to performance with cash or check.

Written by John Patrick Shanley

Directed by Charles Calabrese
Technical Direction by Alexander Vartanian


Starring: Charles Calabrese as Father Brendan Flynn, Judith Anderson as Sister Aloysius Beauvier, Jennifer Alexander as Sister James, and Adrienne Pellegrino as Mrs. Muller.

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