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Saturday, June 15, 2024

In the post-Sept. 11 society we live in, there is one underlying emotion that connects all Americans: doubt.

That feeling is what inspired playwright John Patrick Shanley to write "Doubt," a play set in a Bronx Catholic school in 1964.

"Doubt," a Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning play, is opening at the Hippodrome State Theatre on Friday. The play addresses the gray area between certainty and uncertainty as a strong-minded woman struggles with conscience when she is faced with concerns about one of her male colleagues.

While the play is set in the '60s, the issues it raises are entirely relevant to today's society. Michael Stewart Allen, who plays Father Flynn, likens "Doubt" to the current situation in Iraq.

"We went in with such certainty, but now we have such doubt," Allen said.

The play is directed by Mary Hausch, a UF alumna who has directed more than 100 productions at the Hippodrome.

"This play has some of the best writing I've ever directed," Hausch said. "We've been waiting on the edge of our seats to do this piece."

"Doubt" opened on Broadway in 2005 and has since gone on to win numerous awards and become the fifth-longest running Broadway play in the past 10 years. It is now being made into a major motion picture starring Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Its high acclaim suggests that something very special has come to Gainesville. Students and locals alike now have the chance to see a drama straight from the Broadway stage in the intimate setting of the Hippodrome Theatre.

Alecia Robinson, who plays Mrs. Muller, encourages students to take advantage of the opportunity.

"You get to see an incredibly well-written play for only ,10," Robinson said.

The play is left open-ended, without a certainty or conclusion, leaving you with many questions and a lot to talk about.

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"There is no last word," Shanley wrote in the play's preface. "That's the silence under the chatter of our time."

"Doubt" runs at the Hippodrome State Theatre from Sept. 7 to Sept. 30. Tickets are ,10 for students, ,20 for seniors and ,25 to ,30 for general admission.

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