Touchy subject

Doubt: A Parable

“Any of you kiddies up for some b-ball?”

“Any of you kiddies up for some b-ball?”

Rated 5.0

Doubt: A Parable will linger long after you see it. You’ll ponder it, talk about it and debate it with others and yourself. That’s the strength of John Patrick Shanley’s award-winning play—there are no easy answers to the overall question—what did Father Flynn do or not do?

There are two protagonists in Doubt: Father Flynn and Sister Aloysius, who are worthy opponents going toe-to-toe, steely eye to steely eye. In 1964, after Vatican II tries to modernize and humanize the Catholic Church, Sister Aloysius is an old-school, no-nonsense nun who dismisses the new mind-set. Father Flynn embraces the change, becoming the cool priest who befriends the boys by playing basketball and having private sessions with them in the rectory.

The setting is a parochial school where Shanley slyly layers a myriad of issues—the patriarchal hierarchy within the church, rigid rules, accusations, coverups, sexual abuse and the complex personalities of those involved.

And what he does brilliantly is ambiguity.

Foothill Theatre Company presents a commanding production with Gary Wright as Father Flynn and Sharon Winegar as Sister Aloysius. These are tricky parts, and the two actors portray formidable foes conveying both sympathy and outrage, making each of them believable—a key component to the success of the play. Their final bout is mesmerizing. Elana Wright as Sister James is wonderful as the young, sweet sister who finds her spine, and Gloria Stingily gives us a strong, righteous mother who just wants the best for her son.