Beckwith to debut ‘Doubt’ June 22Published 8:39pm Thursday, June 14, 2012
A cast of just four actors will bring to life the play “Doubt: A Parable” on the Beckwith Theatre stage, beginning June 22.
The play, written by John Patrick Shanley in 2004, follows the fictional St. Nicholas Church School set in the Bronx in 1964. The church’s priest, Father Flynn, becomes the center of an alleged sexual assault against the Catholic school’s only black student, Donald Muller. The school’s principal, Sister Aloysius, and fellow nun, Sister James, then begin the struggle of whether Father Flynn is guilty or innocent of the accusation. The events that transpire end up putting doubt into the minds of not only the nuns and Father Flynn, but also Donald’s mother, Mrs. Muller. The powerful and thought-provoking play was produced into an Academy Award-nominated film by the same name, directed by Shanley.
“I read the script and I loved it,” Adam Rowland, director, said. “We’ve been working for a few months to try and bring this production together with just the four actors.”
The script only lists four roles on the playbill, making the task of bringing it to life somewhat difficult.
“It’s a lot of material for four people to take on,” Rowland said. “It has taken us quite a bit of time to plan how this will play out on stage.”
For the actors, the play has offered up the opportunity to truly delve into the characters, which requires strong performances.
“I recently played another antagonist in a play and my son asked me, ‘Will you ever play a character I can like,’” Jack Gannon, playing the role of Father Flynn, said. “But after I read the script, I completely believed he (Father Flynn) was innocent, so it has given me that much more conviction with my character.”
For Candace Meyers, who plays Sister Aloysius, she said the experience has been similar for her.
“I personally believe Father Flynn is guilty, which has helped me make what I say and do on stage that much more believable,” Meyers said.
Assistant director Rebecca Maxey said audiences can expect powerful performances that require little movement.
“This isn’t action-packed; there are no combat scenes or anything,” Maxey said. “It’s all about the words, which makes it that much more challenging.”
For Donita Curry, who plays Mrs. Muller, and Caitlin Rifenberg, playing Sister James, they said the play has presented challenges on whom to believe.
“It’s odd,” Rifenberg said. “I’m supposed to be on Father Flynn’s side, but I also have formed a deeper connection to Candace (Sister Aloysius), so it’s back and forth.”
Shanley has not publicly revealed if his character of Father Flynn is guilty or innocent, though he has privately determined the outcome. For Rowland, he hopes to the audience will form their own opinion after the play.
“I plan to have them take a vote, and we’ll come to our own conclusion,” Rowland said.
“Doubt: A Parable” debuts at the Beckwith Theatre, 101 New York Ave., Dowagiac, at 7:30 p.m. June 22. Guests can also catch the play on June 23, 24, 29, 30 and July 1. Friday and Saturday night shows begin at 7:30 p.m. with Sunday matinees beginning at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10. For more information, or to purchase tickets, call (269) 782-7653.
Tags: Beckwith Theatre