Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Cape May Stage: Doubt

Cape May is lucky to have two professional theater groups in town. The other night I attended the Cape May Stage production of John Patrik Shanley's "Doubt". The beautifully-restored Robert Shackleton Playhouse was packed for this show. I'd been wanting to check out this group, but with all the cultural activities available in Cape May now, it took a while to get around to this theater. I'm glad I waited, not only because I got to see a great production of "Doubt", but because Cape May Stage donated half the proceeds from the evening to the Beach Theater Foundation. I'm already a frequent filmgoer at the Beach Theater.

The play started around dusk, and from across the street the Robert Shackleton Theater looked so cute lit up with a line of people waiting to get in. It was September, but it could have been a picture on a Christmas card. Right behind where I was standing to take this photo, a barbershop quartet in Hawaiian shirts was warming up in the Rotary Gazebo. It was nice to see the theater close-up so that I could inspect the amazing award-winning restoration work that was completed a few years ago. Before Cape May Stage took over the building, it was a sad-looking welcome center that sometimes hosted small events. Now it is a gorgeous theater with stadium seating and a palette of muted colors.
The play was a thought-provoking experience, exploring the concept of doubt in a Catholic school. With only four actors, the story was rich (after all it won the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award for Best Play). I'm no theater critic, but the acting was good, the characters believable, and the scenery was minimal but just right. The audience surrounding me was spellbound by the performance and rewarded the actors with a storm of applause.

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