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No doubt about it: three must-see performances

Lina Roessler and Alain Goulem Photo: Yanick Macdonald

March 2009

The Centaur theatre has mounted a dynamite production of Doubt, the Pulitzer and Tony award winning play. Coincidentally, this gripping drama comes to us on the heels of the film version featuring some blockbuster stars.

To get the feel of this Catholic grade school gripper, I attended the movie on Shrove Tuesday and the play on Ash Wednesday. My purpose was to analyze the differences in the live and filmed treatments. Mea culpa, I should have known there would be no difference as the author, John Patrick Shanley, wrote the screenplay and directed the film as well. Thus, the comparison boiled down to the cathartic feel of live theatre vs. the greater sweep and close ups of Meryl Streep’s every grimace. See the stage version before the film so as not to diminish the sparse but clever indoor limitations.

Lucinda Davis Photo: Yanick Macdonald

The Centaur actors were forbidden to see the film first. It is a testament to the power of a well written text that Alain Goulem’s liberal Father Flynn and Brenda Robins’s austere Sister Aloysius capture the same nuances as Hoffman’s and Streep’s antagonists, down to the Bronx accents. Lina Roesssler as the innocent Sister James and Lucinda Davis as the mother of the possibly abused boy were perfect in their pivotal roles. Director Micheline Chevrier added kudos to her 25-year cross-Canada experience, assisted by rising star Robin Henderson.

Another must-see play is The Assumption of Empire, which runs until March 22 at Main Line. Penned by local playwright Ann Lambert, hermost ambitious work spans 30 years in Montreal, from 1978 to 2008, as she mixes a personal drama against the background of momentous world events. Frequent collaborator Laura Mitchell stars, supported by Alice Abracen, Lambert’s real life daughter. Eduardo Pipman, Mitchell’s husband composed original music for the piece. They are joined by two vets from Segal Centre, Bill Croft and Tim Hite. The play closes March 29.

Tickets and info: 514-739-7944



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