Town & Gown Theatre’s production of “Doubt: A Parable” opens April 13 and promises to leave audiences with more questions than answers. The prize-winning play refuses to give patrons an easy solution to a complex question, leaving them instead to parse their own fears, emotions, and thoughts about a challenging subject.
“Doubt” tells the story of Father Flynn, a progressive young priest at the St. Nicholas Church School in the Bronx in 1964, and Sister Aloysius, the gravely stern nun who serves as the school’s principal. Sister Aloysius is suspicious of Father Flynn and disapproves of his modern approach and attitude. When young Sister James mentions that Flynn has taken on the role of protector for the school’s first black student, Aloysius believes the worst. With no evidence, and power in the church hierarchy, she sets out to enforce her own justice. The 2008 movie version of the play included an all-star cast and was nominated for five Academy Awards.
In speaking to her desire to bring this phenomenal but difficult tale to the Town & Gown stage, director Renae Perry explained, “On the surface, “Doubt” may seem like a play about Catholicism and misconduct. However, this Pulitzer-winning piece is actually about the intersections of class, race, gender, religion, and power in the 1960s. We have a phenomenal cast and crew working on this production, and anyone who loves gripping dramas will want to be sure to see it. I couldn’t be prouder of the work we’re doing on this show.”
The cast of “Doubt” includes longtime Town & Gown member Charissa Prchal in the role of Sister Aloysius. Prchal has appeared in several Town & Gown productions, including “Dial M for Murder,” “The Bad Seed,” “Dixie Swim Club,” “Song of Survival,” “Butterflies Are Free,” and two renditions of “Steel Magnolias.” She has directed twice and worked many times in technical and backstage positions as well. Opposite Prchal, in the role of Father Flynn, is Aaron Carmichael, a relative newcomer to Town & Gown. In only a short time, Carmichael has appeared in the theater’s Short Play Festival and in the ensemble of “The Producers,” as well as running sound for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Guys and Dolls.” Additionally, he assisted with sound design for “Midsummer” and composed original scores for “Little Women” and now “Doubt.”
Rounding out the cast are Joyce Pool as Mrs. Muller and Olivia Shetter as Sister James. Pool is also relatively new to Town & Gown, but like Carmichael, has packed an enormous amount of experience into a short timeframe. She appeared initially in the ensemble of “Elf: The Musical” and went on to play Titania / Hippolyta in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” perform in the Short Play Festival, join the ensemble in “The Producers,” and star as “Dancer” in “The Eight: Reindeer Monologues.” Shetter is a student in the OSU Theater program and recently made her Town & Gown debut as Amy March in “Little Women.” Some of her favorite prior roles include Betty in “The Crucible” and Jackie The Acrobat in “Slapped.”
“Doubt: A Parable” will run from April 13-16 and 20-23 and feature a discussion panel with OSU Theatre and Religious Studies faculty after both Friday night performances. Thursday through Saturday evening shows start at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees begin at 2:30 p.m. Tickets go on sale Monday, April 10 and can be obtained by calling the Town & Gown box office at (405) 372-9122 or visiting the theatre’s Web site at www.townandgown.org. Tickets prices are $14 each. “Doubt” contains adult themes and oblique references to sexual misconduct which may not be suitable for children. Viewer discretion is advised.
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