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By Sue Suchyta of the Downriver Sunday Times
Wayne State University’s Studio Theatre production of John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt, A Parable is a wonderfully acted, fascinating show that is both timely and thought-provoking. And even though it is set in 1964, its story could have been taken from yesterday’s headlines.
Most of us go to the theater to be entertained. We don’t want to deal with ponderous themes and heavy issues. We want to escape into the story, and we want to enjoy it.
Doubt is about a nun who suspects a young priest of possibly molesting a 12-year-old boy. Not light entertainment, and possibly enough to keep patrons away.
That, however, would be a mistake. The wonderful script, strong direction and talented cast makes the Studio Theatre’s performance of Doubt one you won’t want to miss.
Annabelle Young of Dearborn leads the cast as Sister Aloysius, a strict Catholic school principal from the Bronx. A senior in the undergraduate company, she is wonderful in the role, her last as an undergraduate at Wayne State University.
To prepare for her role Young met with and learned about the life of nuns from the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill in Greensburg, Penn. She humanizes a character that could have been easily stereotyped, a woman living by a strict set of rules in a rapidly changing world.
Andrick Siegmund of Pleasant Ridge is marvelous as Father Flynn, a charismatic young priest full of energy and ideas. One wants to believe in his innocence, but by the end of the show Sister Aloysius has created a strong case against him.
Alyssa Lucas of Garden City as Sister James is very believable as an enthusiastic and idealistic young teaching nun who wants to believe in Father Flynn’s innocence.
Bridgette Jordan of Southfield nails the part of the potentially molested boy’s mother, Mrs. Muller. Her son, the only black child in a Catholic grade school, is there to escape the harsh environment he would face in a public school where his effeminacy in the ’60s would have put a target on his back. The boy’s mother sees an overly interested priest as the lesser evil.
In a show that is talk-intensive, the cast nailed the dialogue to the extent that at times the audience forgets they are watching a show and become caught up in the on-stage tension.
Jordan also looks stylishly chic in the mid-’60s ensemble costumer Cal Schwartz put together for her. Sammy Campbell’s set design is visually pleasing and very workable for the needs of the show.
Doubt, which opened March 24, continues its run at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday in the Studio Theatre’s temporary location, the Hilberry rehearsal studio on the fourth floor of Old Main at 480 W. Hancock in Detroit.
The show runs for 90 minutes with no intermission, and there is no late seating.
For tickets and more information call (313) 577-2972 or go to www.wsushows.com.