© GUARDIAN PHOTO BY SALLY COLE
Father Flynn (Adam Gauthier) and Sister James (Renae Perry) appear in a scene from Doubt, a Parable. The Pulitzer-prize winning drama by John Patrick Shanley will be staged at St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Charlottetown on Nov. 7, 8, 14 and 15 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 10 at 2:30 p.m.
When A.C.T. (A Community Theatre) was deciding on its fall production, the directors spent hours and hours poring over different scripts.
“We thought we would do another comedy. That is, until we came across Doubt, a Parable. From the moment that Paul Whelan and I first read the script, we kept coming back to it because the story was so powerful, so intense. Finally, we said, ‘this is the one we want to do,’ ” says Brenda Porter co-director for Doubt, a Parable that will be performed at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Charlottetown on Nov. 7, 8, 14 and 15 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 10 at 2:30 p.m.
The play was made famous by the 2008 film, Doubt, with Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Viola Davis, who all won Academy Awards for their roles.
Set in a convent school in the Bronx in 1964, the drama revolves around a new black student who has developed a close friendship with Father Brendan Flynn.
However, the school principal, Sister Aloysius, believes there is something inappropriate about the relationship and starts a campaign to expose the truth.
Soon the new, enthusiastic teacher is caught up in the web of suspicion.
“Although set in a school, there’s much in the play that is like a courtroom drama. The play itself is about doubt and intransience. It’s also about the conflict between tradition and change. And, of course, that was so much the case in 1964,” says Porter, referring to the church reforms that resulted from the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council.
In the play, Adam Gauthier plays Father Flynn, a young priest who espouses the changes of a friendlier, welcoming church.
He’s also the teacher in the middle of the controversy.
“It’s one of the most challenging roles that I’ve played. Is this priest capable of these things? Or is he a scapegoat of something that has been going on in the church for years? Now, it doesn’t say that these things are going to happen in the show. But it’s hinted, and that’s what creates the doubt,” says Gauthier.
Audience members may also experience their own share of doubt when the drama heats up, says actor Renae Perry, who plays Sister James, a young nun who is targeted because of her fresh, new ideas.
“You need to go in not expecting anything because it’s all about doubt. The show is like a journey. You have to learn and grow with it. You’ll find that you’ll go back and forth, changing your mind constantly. I know I do.”
Besides a powerful theme, the show boasts some great music, says Porter.
“We approached musical director Carl Mathis with the idea of adding liturgical music, chants by nuns to set the stage for the beginning of Act 1 and 2.”
Mathis also liked the script, so he asked the women in his choir, Coro Dolce, to partner with A.C.T.
“So, getting to hear this beautiful music in a liturgical setting at St. Paul’s Church, a William Critchlow Harris Church, will be spectacular,” says Porter.
AT A GLANCE
If you are going
What: Doubt, a Parable.
When and where: Nov. 7, 8, 14 and 15 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 10 at 2:30 p.m. at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Charlottetown.
Tickets: May be purchased through The Guild box office, 620-3333 or toll free: 1-866-774-0717.