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Region: St. Paul (Downtown)
Director Craig Johnson notes that the subtitle to John Patrick Shanley's award-winning play Doubt is "A Parable." He sees that as a perfect encapsulation for Shanley's lean one-act play, where the doubt about an incident involving a Catholic priest and one of the boys at the Bronx school where he teaches is never resolved. The play's "small" story is a reflection of issues, from sexual orientation to the role of women in the Roman Catholic Church to the civil rights movement, that reverberate long beyond the piece's 1964 setting. That has meant that Johnson and the four-actor company have worked to bore into each moment of the play. "Why is there a pause here? Why did the character change the subject? Why are you mad now? These are the questions that tell us what the play is really about," Johnson says. The cast includes Linda Kelsey as Sister Aloysius Beauvier, who accuses Father Brendan Flynn, played by David Mann. Anne Sundberg plays the young Sister James and Regina Marie Williams is Mrs. Muller, the son of the young African-American student at the center. Both Kelsey and Williams have played their roles before, which has added an extra layer of shading in the production, according to Johnson. Since its debut in 2005, Doubt has been a sensation, from Broadway to the big screen (with Meryl Streep as the senior nun) to a Ten Thousand Things production last year. An opera based on the work will debut next year at the Minnesota Opera. All of this indicates to Johnson that the play may be one that becomes part of the permanent repertoire. "It brings value for someone who has seen it multiple times, or hasn't seen it before," he says. (Photo by Amy Anderson)
Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: April 20. Continues through May 13, 2012