Wednesday, March 14, 2012

doubt | subscriber event follow-up

A note from Ron, following last weekend's Subscriber Appreciation Saturday event for DOUBT.

Greetings, Shanley fans!

(Oh, and if you haven't seen the play yet: this may contain an important spoiler you won't want to read until after you have.)

One afterthought that occurred to some of us while chatting after last Saturday's subscriber appreciation chat. After viewing the various clips, and hearing the excerpts from DOUBT and DANNY & THE DEEP BLUE SEA, I ended up by commenting that I'd come to see DOUBT standing apart from the other plays. Not only because the other plays had wilder language and much more use of fierce, poetic imagery...

but also because Shanley's recurring theme didn't seem to have played itself out in DOUBT.
Joe left behind his brain cloud and his the factory life to sail to sea and throw himself into a volcano;
Danny would kill himself if he hadn't changed his life by the time he turned 30, and Roberta cries "I can't stay like I am!";
Loretta the undertaker's accountant in MOONSTRUCK leaves behind besotted-with-death Johnny for "Bring me the big knife!" Ronny - "A wolf without a hand! A woman without a head!";
and Harry vows to leave behind the violence of his life in FIVE CORNERS to risk his life registering voters in Mississippi.

But in conversation afterward, we realized that the same theme is in fact played out in the characters of Mrs Muller and her son Donald: "Whatever the problem is, Donald just has to make it here till June. Then he's off to high school." She's willing for her son to pay any price to get into a good high school, and then into a good college, to leave behind the life and prospects he faces in the Bronx.

It's not the main theme, but it's the card Shanley plays when he wants to change our entire perspective on the play. Even in DOUBT, which seems quite removed from the core theme of all Shanley's other stories we looked at, it's still his trump card, his game-changer. This time,it's not what the play is fundamentally about, but it still finds a key place in the dramatic action. Fascinating.

That session was a lot of fun! We put our heads together yesterday and came up with a great plan for our 100 SAINTS YOU SHOULD KNOW event, and made the decision definitely to carry these forward into next season. We love them!


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