NBindy_9.30.22-forDigital - Page 11

Doubt
Ashley
newportbeachindy . com SEPTEMBER 30 , 2022 11

Doubt

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ance of anything “ improper ,” and Shanley shows us the degrees of cunning and calculation she ’ s willing to employ to “ outfox ” anyone who stands in her way .
Modyman ’ s outstanding cast leaves us no “ doubt ” that in writing his play , Shanley hit upon something profound .
Kerr ’ s hidebound Aloysius is severe and self-righteous , suspicious of everyone around her and unable to tolerate anyone who isn ’ t like herself . She ’ s convinced she ’ s best equipped to judge others and deal with them accordingly . With a cutting edge and sarcasm in her voice , Kerr avoids stereotyping Aloysiyus , rounding out the woman ’ s severity with more sympathetic qualities , tempered by the character ’ s sense of right and wrong . Kerr subtly approaches her portrayal , showing that Sister Aloysius is both human and formidable – and that the two qualities aren ’ t necessarily mutually exclusive .
Each act opens with Father Flynn delivering a sermon . Whitely reveals Flynn ’ s dynamism in the way his character steps out from behind the pulpit , moves around , and reinforces his words with gestures .
Father Flynn adopts leniency and a friendly demeanor as the best way to get through to the boys . While wholly in earnest at all times , Whitely ’ s face expresses Flynn ’ s welcoming tempera-
( L to R ) Victoria Leigh Serra , Troy Stafford Whiteley , Della Lisi Kerr / photo by Charles Weinberg
ment . Late in the play , while under attack from Sister Aloysius , the actor ’ s Flynn stands up to her , showing the starch the sister wants to see in Sister James but is unable to elicit .
Sister Aloysius chastises Sister James for being too easily swayed and easily impressed . James lacks the stomach for Aloysius ’ s machinations and tactics tapped to try to bring Father Flynn down .
Serra , her voice often fluttering , reveals her character ’ s dutiful nature and the fear and uncertainty that results from Aloysius continuously grinding her down . By the second act , Sister James has become clearly subdued , and Serra shows us the young woman is distraught , no longer able to find joy as a teacher .
Modyman ’ s skilled direction clearly sketches the onerous weight pressing down on its three main characters – Flynn , Aloysius and James – at all times , born of the restrictive moral obligations of their calling .
While the Mrs . Muller character appears in only one scene near the play ’ s conclusion , Glasco etches a memorable portrait of a fearless vocal advocate for her pre-teen son , who is essentially defenseless whether at home or in school .
Glasco shows Mrs . Muller is at first submissive to Sister Aloysius , then grows increasingly ( and justifiably ) angry with her . As Glasco shows us , the woman is off-the-charts indignant that the sister would attack the one person who has shown her son kindness – Father Flynn .
Jim Huffman ’ s set design at NTAC , of Sister Aloysius ’ s private office , the nave and pulpit , and the outdoor gardens , carries forth the simple elegance present in Shanley ’ s script .
“ Doubt ” is a play of concepts and ideas , yet one that stirs our emotions – a theatrical rarity . Be sure to catch it while you can , because – without a “ doubt ” – you ’ ll be debating its issues long after the final curtain call .
Newport Theatre Arts Center , 2501 Cliff Drive , Newport Beach . Through October 9 . Running time ( including intermission ): 1 hour , 35 minutes . 8 p . m . Thu . -Sat ., 2 p . m . Sun . Tickets : $ 20- $ 25 . Ticket purchase / information : ( 949 ) 631-0288 , www . ntaconline . com .

Ashley

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