It won the Pulitzer Prize in 2005 and it should win every prize in Florida in 2019.
It's John Patrick Shanley's play “Doubt, A Parable” now in an extraordinary production at Actors' Playhouse.
The year is 1964 and the scene is a Catholic School in the Bronx.
In a simple tale of humanity and the lack thereof, school principal and classic martinet, Sister Aloysius, believes a priest interfered with a young boy, her only evidence the one on one meeting of the boy and the priest, related to her by a subservient nun.
The well-liked priest, Father Flynn, denies the allegation.
Laura Turnbull is a horrifying delight as Sister Aloysius as she lectures Sister James on the evils of being nice to students. Sister James, played by Jessica Sandford, can't understand, but obeys the reasoning of her superior. Aloysius, proud of ruling by fear, exposes her hatred of others, demanding only respect. She knows she is right, she feels it in her heart, the priest must be guilty, maybe no evidence, but no doubt.
Terry Hardcastle, a reasonable Father Flynn until ultimately pushed, is the perfect personification of a man who wants only to serve. His accented voice would soften the hardest heart, Any but that of Sister Aloysius. She has no doubts, remember.
Aloysius calls in Mrs Miller (Rita Joe), the mother of the boy concerned, but gets little to her advantage. Mrs Miller, aggressive in her defense of her son, explodes with his difficulties as the only black child in the all white parochial school, the beatings he receives from his father not because he drank some sacramental wine, but because he's “different”.
Shanley's writing, brilliant in his details and revealed secrets, is the perfect piece for this perfect cast.
The transitions each makes are irresistible.
Father Flynn's sermons, his coaching, his confrontations with Sister Aloysius and his comforting of Sister James. His solution to his perceived persecution.
Sister Aloysius, so sure for so long, finally tripped by her own mendacity and Sister James, finding her love restored. A happy ending for all?
A fast one act, so well directed by David Arisco that “Doubt, A Parable” will be remembered as one of Actors' Playhouse finest productions.
Set by Gene Seyffer, lights Eric Nelson, sound Shaun Mitchell, costumes Ellis Tillman, set dressing and properties Jodi Dellaventura. And all every bit as good as good can be.
“Doubt, A Parable” plays through June 9 at Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables. 305-444-9293. www.actorsplayhouse.org