A thought provoking one act play “Doubt: A Parable” is now on stage at the fantastic Westport Country Playhouse. After a two year absence it was so great to see a play at this famous venue known for its high quality productions.
Doubt is a potent drama that keeps the audience riveted to the actors on stage during the entire performance. Set in a Catholic Church in the Bronx, NY in 1964 the play opens with a sermon from the parish priest, Father Flynn (Eric Bryant) who preaches the concept of doubt and uncertainty. After his sermon we meet Sister Aloysius (Betsy Aidem), a strict conservative nun who runs the school. Her mission is to maintain order in the school which she does by always remaining vigilant. Sister Aloysius then meets with young Sister James (Kersten Anderson) who not only does she criticize, but reveals her fears and suspicions about the world outside the church, as well as some within its walls.
Sister Aloysius believes that Father Flynn has had an inappropriate relationship with the school’s first and only African American student, Donald Muller. Though she has no proof, only doubt she finally confronts Father Flynn about her theory. A struggle of wills then ensues between Sister Aloysius, Father Flynn, Sister James and the boy’s mother, Mrs. Muller (Sharina Martin). Each character adds to the narrative their own interpretation of the incident which only adds uncertainty and doubt to what really happened. Was it an innocent meeting or something nefarious? Each side tries to gain the sympathy of the audience. Sister Aloyius and her desire to rid her church of a bad seed, and Father Flynn who portrays himself as an innocent victim in the nun’s accusations.
The play raises questions to the audience about truth, certainty and morality. Which side do you believe? But in the end it answers none of these allowing each audience member to wrestle with the facts as presented to reach their own conclusion. The discussion of the play and its implications continues long after you leave the theater.
The play was filled with strong, passionate performances and was brilliantly directed by Daniel Kennedy. We were thrilled to see live theater back at Westport and encourage you not to miss this play. Doubt was the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play.
Covid protocols are in effect for the protection of the audience and staff and proof of vaccination is required. The play runs through November 20, 2021
Westport Country Playhouse
25 Powers Court
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