Doubt, Twilight both recognized as one of Nashville's best theater works in 2010
By Janel Shoun on 2/7/2011
Lipscomb University’s 2010 production of Doubt: A Parable, featuring an in-person visit by the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright John Patrick Shanley, was recognized by BroadwayWorld.com as one of Nashville’s best plays in 2010.
In addition, Lipscomb Chair of Theatre Mike Fernandez was recognized as one of Nashville’s top directors in 2010 for Doubt, and Lipscomb’s artists-in-residence, the Blackbird Theater, were honored by the Nashville Scene as producing the best new play in Nashville in 2010 for Twilight of the Gods.
Read on to see excerpts from the Top Ten lists from the Scene and BroadwayWorld, praising these two Lipscomb productions:
Reprinted from www.Nashville.BroadwayWorld.com:
First Night's Top Ten of 2010: Nashville's Best Directors
If theater audiences in Nashville and Middle Tennessee owe a huge debt of gratitude to the directors who helm the year's finest productions, you can only imagine how the actors lucky enough to work with those insightful, creative men and women must be! The Top Ten Directors of 2010 have resumes anyone would be proud to claim as their own and when you consider that they - year after year - excel at what they do, then you cannot help but be impressed by the breadth and depth of their abilities. Frankly, it boggles the mind. These are Nashville's best directors of 2010...
Mike Fernandez, Doubt, Lipscomb University Theatre. Provocative and compelling, John Patrick Shanley's script for Doubt remains stagebound- albeit a Pulitzer Prize-winning, stagebound masterpiece - until a confident director and cast take on the challenge of mounting a production, in which to breathe life into the characters created so vividly by the playwright on the written page. With Shanley watching from the audience on opening night, director Mike Fernandez and his cast found themselves under the most terrific pressure one could imagine and they took up the challenge with grace, delivering a stunning production that does the theatre program at Lipscomb very proud. Led by Nashville theatre stalwart Nan Gurley as Sister Aloysius and Baylor University professor Steven Pounders as Father Flynn, Fernandez's cast is uniformly consistent and committed to their performances. Fernandez's direction is crisply focused on the play's action and his deft hand is seen throughout the players' onstage interactions that fairly crackle with intensity. Fernandez's even-handed direction is confident and imaginative and the actions moves along at a nice pace.
By Jeffrey Ellis
First Night's Top Ten of 2010: Nashville's Best Plays
Nashville theater audiences were treated to a wide range of dramatic offerings in 2010, with the revival of some of the best-known American plays of the past half-century, along with productions of some amazing original works by a group of talented homegrown playwrights, whose subjects ranged from what goes on in the intimate confines of the ladies' room to a murder mystery comedy with a film noir ambience. Clearly, if 2010 is any indication, the new 2011 season now under way is going to be filled with even more surprises and delights. So what productions ranked highest in my estimation? Here they are: First Night's Top Ten Plays of 2010...
Doubt. Directed by Mike Fernandez. Presented by Lipscomb University Theatre. Provocative and compelling, John Patrick Shanley's script for Doubt remains stagebound- albeit a Pulitzer Prize-winning, stagebound masterpiece - until a confident director and cast take on the challenge of mounting a production, in which to breathe life into the characters created so vividly by the playwright on the written page. Nashville audiences were given the opportunity to see Doubt in a remarkably acted and superbly staged production at Lipscomb University's Shamblin Theatre. Staging Doubt for Lipscomb's Christian Scholars’ Conference was a courageous choice for the Lipscomb theatre department, which is broadening its scope (word is that a master's program in theatre is in the offing at the university) and making its presence in Nashville's arts community felt far more strongly. Shanley's Doubt, deserving of all its accolades and an excellent example of theatre as literature with its beautifully crafted dialogue and Shanley's uncanny ability to make even the most disturbing subject palatable and cause for much discussion, is particularly relevant in this day and age, what with the news filled with stories of religious figures straying over the line, as it were, to use their positions of authority to prey upon the weak and helpless.
By Jeffrey Ellis
Best New Play: Blackbird Theater’s Twilight of the Gods
“Over the last decade, Nashville's theater scene has seen a big increase in productions of works by local playwrights, and interesting new scripts have emerged recently from area writers like Nate Eppler, Jim Reyland, Jene India, Mary McCallum and Trish Crist. But Wes Driver and Greg Greene surpassed them all, opening their new theater company with this witty, culturally literate whodunit with a smart sense of history, clever dialogue and challenging character roles.”
By Martin Brady