Fi­nal week­end to catch ‘Doubt’ at CHT

Record Observer - - Arts & Entertainment -

CHURCH HILL — “This pro­duc­tion of ‘Doubt’ is a must-see for any­one who en­joys se­ri­ous, thought-pro­vok­ing drama,”says lo­cal re­viewer Peter Heck. “Doubt, A Para­ble,” the Tony and Pulitzer prize-win­ning drama by John Pa­trick Shan­ley, has one fi­nal week­end at Church Hill Theatre.

Since the play runs with­out an in­ter­mis­sion, the di­rec­tor, Michael White­hill, of­fers au­di­ences the un­usual op­por­tu­nity to linger af­ter each per­for­mance in or­der to dis­cuss the pro­duc­tion with the cast and crew. Th­ese ses­sions have been lively and well at­tended so far, with at least half the au­di­ence re­main­ing at each per­for­mance. Dra­maturges Christo­pher Wal­lace and Pa­trick Fee have as­sem­bled a great deal of in­for­ma­tion that can be viewed at http://doubt. church­hillthe­atre.org/ be­fore the per­for­mance.

At its core, “Doubt” asks au­di­ences to pon­der the many mean­ings of truth: fac­tual, moral, sit­u­a­tional, cul­tural and gen­er­a­tional. The im­me­di­ate ques­tion is whether a Catholic priest acted in­ap­pro­pri­ately to­ward a child in his care, but the drama digs deeper, in­ves­ti­gat­ing is­sues of race and class and ask­ing how far a per­son may go to achieve jus­tice.

The story takes place in a Bronx parochial school in the 1960s. John Haas plays Fa­ther Bren­dan Flynn, a pro­gres­sive parish priest who fa­vors ra­cial in­te­gra­tion and more lib­eral so­cial at­ti­tudes. The school’s prin­ci­pal, Sis­ter Aloy­sius (Kathy Jones) is rigid, con­ser­va­tive and deeply mis­trust­ful of her col­leagues, her stu­dents and the whole of mod­ern so­ci­ety. A young nun, Sis­ter James (Ken­dall Davis) is caught in the mid­dle when she ob­serves — or mis­in­ter­prets — an in­ter­ac­tion be­tween Fa­ther Flynn and the school’s first African-American stu­dent. While the boy’s mother, Mrs. Muller (Barbi Bedell) sees noth­ing wrong with the al­leged contact, Sis­ter Aloy­sius con­fronts the priest and es­ca­lates the con­flict. The au­di­ence is left swing­ing from ar­gu­ment to ar­gu­ment, de­bat­ing each char­ac­ter’s mo­ti­va­tion, search­ing for the truth, but en­coun­ter­ing only more doubt. Heck noted that di­rec­tor Michael White­hill “has as­sem­bled a strong cast, and they make the most of the chal­leng­ing script.”

“Doubt, A Para­ble” will run through Sept. 24 with per­for­mances at 8 p.m. on Fri­day and Satur­day and 2 p.m. on Sun­day. Tick­ets are $20 for adults and $10 for stu­dents, with special prices for groups of 10 or more. Reser­va­tions can be made by call­ing the box of­fice at 410-556-6003 or online at www.church­hillthe­atre.org.

STEVEN G. ATKIN­SON

Fa­ther Flynn (John Haas) de­liv­ers a ser­mon on the sub­ject of Doubt.

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