The latest production at Forge Theatre, DOUBT by John Patrick Shanley, is the story of the head of a Catholic school in the Bronx who believes that a priest at the connected church as an improper relationship with one of the boys. Her investigation and the interaction among the characters is the story within the story.
Director Cindy Schneider has assembled a very fine cast. Sherry Snyder as Sister Aloyisius Beauvier is stern and unyielding, yet is able to carry the initial meeting with Sister James very well with its straight-comedic twists. Andrea Daniels as Sister James is naïve and sweet, yet allows herself to be swayed by Sister Aloyisius. Eric Jarrell portrays Father Brendan Flynn as a priest who refuses to distance himself from his congregation or the students, and has a fierce determination to keep certain matters private. Rounding out the cast, Tia Chanel Allen plays Mrs. Muller, the mother of the boy Sister Aloyisius believes has been with Father Flynn. She gives a very good portrayal of a woman conflicted by the truth of her home life and the allegations of Sister Aloyisius.
The play moves along rapidly, yet gives the audience time to think about whether the allegations may be true or false. The relentless attacks by Sister Aloyisius move things along well, with Sister James and Father Flynn reacting and counter-attacking as the facts seem to prove or disprove Sister Aloyisius’ theory. The meeting between Sister Aloyisius and Mrs. Muller is intense and in some ways very heart-rending. My congratulations to the cast for making me forget at times that this was a theatre and these were actors.
DOUBT is a production that deserves an audience. The performance I attended was sold out, and the audience received a marvelous performance in return. I highly recommend taking the trip to Phoenixville to see this outstanding production. Call ahead for reservations…the seating is very limited.
by John Patrick Shanley
Directed by Cindy Schneider
November 5 – 20, 2010
241 First Avenue
Phoenixville, PA 19460