Thursday, March 17, 2005

Doubt

Finally caught the Broadway transfer DOUBT last night. This is the play about the nun who suspects the preacher of molesting a young boy. I can't account for why I have never seen Cherry Jones (stage actor extraordinaire who plays the nun) perform onstage yet... I have seen a lot of Broadway and Off Broadway plays in the past several years and somehow I have never seen a show of hers despite her considerable level of fame within the medium. For those who never see stage shows in NY you may have seen her in bit parts in The Village, Erin Brockovich, and especially Cradle Will Rock After having seen this much talked about show I can say that her hoopla is earned. She has that special stage magic that you can't learn, fake, or convey properly to those who haven't seen for themselves. The sort of 'born-for-the-stage' charisma. Hypnotic.

My feelings about the show are mixed. It's very good ...no mistake. But I wanted DOUBT to be "great" and it fell short I think. My principle problem with it was that I didn't think it was as ambiguous as it thought it was. The central conceit is that you don't really "know" and to the play's credit it does take some unexpected turns --there is one scene in particular featuring the child's mother--which really deepen it and make it noteworthy. But in the end I thought that both the actors and the playwright had made up their minds and in a play about suspicion, gossip, and the unknowable... I think that was a miscalculation. But, I don't want to be so critical because the 90 minutes fly by. The acting is superb. And I'm pretty sure it's going to win the BEST PLAY Tony. It's only competition seems to be DEMOCRACY.

7 comments:

Nick Davis said...

Nathaniel knows that I love it when he reviews movies, but does he know that I love it just as much when he reviews plays? I'm always excited for these dispatches from TheaterLand, and Doubt is the play I'm most curious about from the current crop of B'way offerings. I'm wondering if it has a shot at the Pulitzer as well as the Tony. I'm thinking it does, though I've also heard about Pulitzer support for Lynn Nottage's Intimate Apparel. Probably a million people are in a better position to discuss this than I am. Whatever. I just hope I get to see the play.

Anonymous said...

i hate it when Nathaniel talks about theatre because we don't get any... or, we do, but I'm not rich enough to even consider seeing anything.

The only play I've seen is The Producers and I'll hopefully be able to scrounge up enough to see The Lion King when it comes to Melbourne, but apart from that, it's a no-go zone for me.

I can actually afford the $10 to see a movie. I cannot afford the $100+ to see a play.

-Glenn

Anonymous said...

rush tickets, my friend.

rush tickets!

NATHANIEL R said...

Rush tickets are smart. You can see some shows for as little as $20-$25. And particularly if you're a student there are other deals to be had. You just have to learn the labyrinthine ways of theater addicts... there are many to learn and I am expert enough at it now that I rarely pay much if I pay anything at all. But it took me six years to get to this point.

The only time the seasoned theatergoer has to pay full price is if something is a behemoth (like The Lion King or, say, Wicked) and is sold out until the end of time or if you're just really persnickety about where you sit.

And even then there are lotteries if luck shines on you. Wicked can be had in the front row for $25 dollars. But you have to win that lottery.

NATHANIEL R said...

To Nick:
You'll get to see the play. It's doing well so it won't be closing anytime soon.

I'm not sure if it will do Proof business --those 2 year runs for straight plays just aren't that common. But it'll play for a good stretch.

The audience ate it up in my theater.

Ryan said...

sorry kiddo, but I really doubt that Doubt can beat Democracy for the Tony for best play. The acting is great, yes - but once you get past the superb performances the writing and structuring of the play itself seems somehow slight.

Anonymous said...

I think Australia works differently though...

plus, I live an hour away from the my state's version of New York City (ie; the place with all the plays, musicals, and limited release movies) so it all becomes really cost and time consuming to even bother.

-GLenn