“Doubt, A Parable” Next Up at Church Hill Theatre

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Doubt, A Parable, the prize-winning drama by John Patrick Shanley, opens at Church Hill Theatre on September 8 and will run for three weekends.  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. And because Doubt ends ambiguously, with more questions than answers, CHT hopes for lively arguments and spirited discussions.

In the Church Hill Theatre production of Doubt, a Parable, Mrs. Muller (Barbara Bedell) fuels Sister Aloysius’s doubts further during a private meeting.

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.  A favorite with the critics, Doubt, A Parable won multiple Tony Awards in 2005, including Best Play. In addition, it received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and numerous other best play awards. Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Viola Davis and Amy Adams all were nominated for Oscars for their work in the 2008 film adaptation.

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.

Sister James (Kendall Davis, left) and Sister Aloysius (Kathy Jones, right) weigh the values of faith and trust in a world of uncertainty.

The production team includes Producer Sylvia Maloney, Assistant to the Director Mary Zober, Stage Manager/Photographer Steve Atkinson, Scenarist Brian Draper, Light Designer Doug Kaufmann, Light & Sound crew members Laura Crabtree and Matt Grande, and Dramaturges Christopher Wallace and Patrick Fee.

Doubt, A Parable opens at Church Hill Theatre on September 8, 2017, and runs through September 24, with performances on Friday and Saturday nights at 8 pm and Sunday afternoons at 2 pm.  Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students, with special prices for groups of ten or more. CHT offers 2 for the price of 1 tickets on opening night, Friday, September 8, to those who reserve by phone. Reservations can be made by calling the box office at 410-556-6003 or online at www.churchhilltheatre.org.

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