Stage Review

Defiance (2006)

EW's GRADE
B-

Details Opening Date: Feb 28, 2006; Lead Performances: Chris Bauer and Stephen Lang; Writer: John Patrick Shanley; Director: John Patrick Shanley

Doubt — John Patrick Shanley's Pulitzer Prize winner about a priest, a nun, and an accusation — is a shrewdly structured sermon on a subject that defies structure and sermonizing. With Defiance, Shanley again applies slippery rationality to the Foggy Inexorable. This time, the result is more fog. On a North Carolina Marine base in 1971, a crusading colonel (Stephen Lang, stentorian and stilted) tries to ease racial tension with the help of a reluctant black captain (Chris Chalk). When a snaky Baptist chaplain (Chris Bauer) feels out both men's flaws, big ideas like Duty, Values, and God crowd the stage — and shove the characters roughly into the wings.

Originally posted Mar 10, 2006 Published in issue #868 Mar 17, 2006 Order article reprints