There is a line in John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt: A Parable where it mentions the charm of ‘A Community Theatre’ production. The line was apt but after viewing the play, I’m thinking ACT’s intention with Doubt was not to charm but to prod their audience with poignancy and tension.
The emotional strain between the characters is so incredibly palpable and gritty it seems the beautiful backdrop of St. Paul’s Anglican Church might light up with hellfire before our very eyes. But could we really be sure that we saw it? This is a production that makes you question your senses, grabs you by the throat and refuses to let go.
The actors, Barbara Rhodenizer, Adam Gauthier, Renae Perry, & Tamara Steele command the stage with certainty, deftness and precision as they weigh the evidence of whether a trusted priest (Gauthier) had interfered with the first black boy at a school run by nuns.
The Coro Dolce choir, directed by Carl Mathis, added a dimension of mystery and haunted suspense to the already multi-layered production. Directors Brenda Porter and Paul Whelan are to be congratulated on a job supremely done.
The play was so well performed, incredibly written and so painstakingly staged that one cannot help be awed by the effort, time and love that must have gone into it. Though set in the 60s, Shanley’s script is still very relevant today. He illustrates the point that it’s okay to admit we don’t know everything, to be uncertain. In an age where people have the means to air their views so easily and on a global scale, perhaps we should examine the views that we’ve always had, to take a step back and be satisfied that we can’t be omniscient about everything all of the time.
If one thing is for certain, you’ll be sorry that you missed this play.