“What do you do when you’re unsure?” So asks John Patrick Shanley, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Doubt: A Parable, presented by Studio Tenn at the Jamison Theater in the Factory at Franklin Feb. 15-25.
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for Best play, Doubt is set in the Bronx in 1964 where an unthinkable allegation is leveled against Father Flynn. The watchful, reserved, unsentimental Sister Aloysius, who accuses the beloved priest of misconduct with the school’s first and only African American student, realizes that the only way to get justice is to create it herself.
First performed off Broadway in 2004, Doubt: A Parable featured Tennessee native Cherry Jones in the Tony Award-winning performance as Sister Aloysius. Shanley directed a 2008 film adaptation that starred Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Viola Davis, all of which were nominated for Academy Awards for their performance.
Studio Tenn’s rendition of the powerful parable stars Marguerite Lowell as Sister Aloysius, Brent Maddox as Father Flynn, Emily Landham as Sister James and Aleta Myles as Mrs. Muller. Nathaniel McIntyre directs, with set and costume designs from Studio Tenn’s Artistic Director, Matt Logan.
“I have always been so stricken by this play, not for what it tells us, but for what it asks us to examine,” Logan said. “The answer of the play is tied up in the audience’s interpretation, and oftentimes, tied to their own personal experience. It’s a wonderful production to ask our audiences to play along and consider.”
Logan also mentioned his excitement to see what the artistic team will devise in the rehearsal room and the beauty they will find in Shanley’s award winning script.
“I love that our incredible guest director, Nat McIntyre, sees every small detail as a pointing arrow and finds each moment to be massively complex,” he said. “This commitment also helps him guide the actors to the subtle humor within the play. When you tie Nat’s wonderful direction to the masterful skill of our four actors, you have a recipe for true theatre magic.”
Marguerite Lowell, who portrays the stern Sister Aloysius, noted what audiences may draw from the performance.
“I am certain that anyone who sees this play will not forget it. The audience will feel suspense, they will feel anger, they may find humor or even want to cheer, but they will certainly continue to wrestle with the enormous ideas that this script addresses long after they have left the theater.”
Lowell also commented on her role as Sister Aloysius and the complexity of her character.
“I love John Patrick Shanley’s description of her. He says, ‘Sister Aloysius is in an argument with the world as it is, and the world as it is changing. She follows a road until it gives out underneath her.”’
An intensely dramatic parable, Doubt is a thought-provoking drama that not only raises questions of uncertainties, but causes audiences to explore who they are, and who they become, in the face of adversity.