by Gail Burns and Abby Turner
Gail Burns: This marks my first reviewing outing with my friend Abby Turner. Abby is a fellow alumna of Sarah Lawrence College with a background in fine art, design, and merchandising. She has often been my “date” for the theatre and I value her opinions and insight. Abby, what were your impressions of the Berkshire Actors Theatre (BAT) production of John Patrick Shanley’s “Doubt: A Parable”?
Abby Turner: Gail, you are one of the rare people who did not see the film based on this play starring the fabulous Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman – so you are coming to this with a fresh eye and I am seeing through the Streep lens – which is hard on any play.
Gail: True. Streep and Hoffman are VERY tough acts to follow! The film was released the same weekend I saw and reviewed “Doubt” for the first time (in a Town Players production in 2008), so I consciously stayed away. But then it is no secret that I NEVER go to the movies anyway.
Abby: The theatre experience is very different, and this production holds up quite well. There is an intimacy and immediacy to the theatre which is very compelling in this play which is so much about character and what one comes to believe. And in the face of a lack of irrefutable proof, beliefs seem about what we know from the pit of our stomach. As Sister Aloysius, Peggy Pharr Wilson is very clear about what her gut tells her. She is a deeply unlikable character, but one of great conviction and integrity.