Friday, Dec. 17, 2004


John Patrick Shanley's 90-minute drama is simple in outline, complex in resonance. A priest at a Bronx parochial school in the 1960s is suspected by a nun of sexually abusing one of the boys. Is he guilty, or a victim of groundless accusations? The play thwarts all our comfortable assumptions. The accused (Brian F. O'Byrne) is a hardworking, progressive priest whose defensiveness seems perfectly consistent with a man unjustly charged. The nun (the magnificent Cherry Jones) is a stubborn, old-school bulldog who has precious little evidence for her suspicions. The clash of wills is riveting; the outcome unsettling. This Manhattan Theater Club presentation is moving to Broadway in the spring and will certainly be a major Tony contender.