Monday, March 9, 2009

a journalist full of doubt

i don't usually write about the same subject three times in a week, but curious scheduling quirks had me reviewing doubt the movie last week in my culture corner column and i just fired off my review of doubt the play for next week. i also wrote a t-up for metro last week, going from doubt ignoramus to expert in seven easy days.

after 1,300 words on the subject, i think i've said all i have to say on the topic. but i'm going to write a bit more anyway to plug the neptune play.

just as the book is usually better than the movie, so to is the play better than the movie. i'm a fan of philip seymour hoffman and meryl street, who star in the movie, but i got more out of the stage version. stuart hughes holds his own as father flynn, the 1960s priest accused of molesting a boy, and fiona reid draws a deeper, more human portrayal of sister aloysius, the nun pointing the accusing finger at flynn. aloysius has some funny lines ('i'm going to start thinking you're punching people!' she says to the young innocent sister james after the second black eye of the week) and that surprises you in the play. in the movie, streep is so unwaveringly angry that it just sounds out of place, words her nasty nun would never say.

i interviewed director ron ulrich before seeing the play. he told me he sat down with stuart and the two of them worked out the truth of the story (it is never clear what, if anything, flynn did) and then he sat down with fiona and did the same thing - but neither actor knows how the other is playing it. that shows in the play, which ultimately is as mystifying as a sphinx riddle. your reaction - guilty or innocent? - tells you more about yourself than it does about the play.

and now, for the future of newspapers, check out the weekly news' nifty new 'smart edition.' not only is it an exact replica of the print edition: it talks! once you've got the smartpage up that you want to hear, hover over the headline and click on the speaker icon that shows up. tada! stephen hawkings's girlfriend tells you all the news you need to know.

for some reason, she starts my column with a 'scion' and then reads the second leg, but otherwise it seems bug-free.


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