In Play Reviews

John Patrick Shanley‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Doubt: A Parable opens with a sermon on the importance of uncertainty in which Father Flynn states, “Doubt can be a bond as powerful and sustaining as certainty.”

Diana Kondrat, Todd Hermanson, and Ariel Puls in Doubt. Lakewood Theatre Company photo.

Flynn, played by Todd Hermanson in the Lakewood Theatre Company production of Doubt, is a progressive and popular parish priest who also works with the boys at St. Nicholas Church School in the Bronx. His popularity is not lost on Sister Aloyisius (Diane Kondrat), the rigidly conservative school principal who distrusts everyone in general and men in particular. She voices her views to Sister James (Ariel Puls) during a meeting with the new teacher, in which she tells Sister James that her naive innocence is a form of laziness.

When Sister Aloyisius learns that Father Flynn has met privately with Donald Muller, the school’s first Black student, she immediately suspects sexual misconduct has occurred. She confronts Father Flynn in the presence of Sister James, who is a fan of the priest. Angered, Flynn finally admits that his meeting with Donald was because the boy was caught chugging the altar wine after a service. Rather than discipline Donald before his peers, Flynn opted to have a little fatherly sit-down to straighten out the matter.

His admission inflames Sister Aloyisius’s suspicions, and Mrs. Muller (Victoria Alvarez-Chacon) is called to the principal’s office to be informed of the transgressions. Far from being concerned, Donald’s mother is grateful for Father Flynn’s attention. The boy needs a good father figure. At home, she tells the sister, things are not warm and fuzzy between Donald and his dad.

Sister Aloyisius will not back off. She needs to be right, and her astonishing tenacity rachets tensions to the breaking point. Did he or didn’t he? Sister Aloysius knows he did.

Diane Kondrat and Victoria Alvarez-Chacon. Lake Oswego Theatre Company photo.

In this outstanding production, director Antonio Sonera has delivered electric performances from of the talented four-member cast. The audience is led through a labyrinth of twists and turns as new facts are revealed, only to be left breathless at curtain fall. It is an experience not to be missed.

Doubt‘s creative team includes producer Steve Knox; stage manager Clementine Dorsey; scenic designer John Gerth; lighting designer Demetri Pavlatos; costume designer Jami Chatalas Blanchard; sound designer R.J. Julia; production manager Kendra Comerford; and prop designer Micha N. Steury.

Doubt opened off-Broadway in November 2004, moved to the Broadway stage in March 2005, and was awarded the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play. It runs on the Lakewood stage through April 8. Tickets are available here.



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