PUBLISHED: 7:50 PM on Wednesday, October 29, 2008
New Perseverance play calls everything into question
JUNEAU - What do you do when you're unsure? How do you know who to believe? Can we trust our instincts to lead us to make the right decision?

More questions than answers will arise in "Doubt: a Parable," the latest Perseverance Theatre production. The Pulitzer-prize winning play by John Patrick Shanley opens Nov. 7 at 7 p.m., with pay-as-you-can previews Nov. 2, 5 and 6.

  Courtesy of Perseverance Theatre
"Doubt" takes place in a Catholic school in New York in 1964. The tough Sister Aloysius accuses the well-liked Father Flynn of sexually abusing a student. Young Sister James doesn't know what to believe. The audience will likely feel the same.

"One of the characters knows the truth but you never find out from him what's going on at all," said Art Rotch, Perseverance's artistic director. "It'll all about how it's hard to know what's right to do because it's hard to know what's true."

The play explores an ambiguous situation, but in the character of Sister Aloysius it also looks at someone who is sure of her convictions, even if they are based only on an instinct.

"In a lot of ways, the nun that's accusing the priest doesn't have any facts, she just has her certainty," said director Flordelino Lagundino. "Shanley is guarding against this sense of certainty."

The four-person cast features Ed Christian as Father Flynn, Shona Strauser as Sister Aloysius, Christina Apathy as Sister James and Marinda Anderson as Mrs. Muller.

"It's a great play, and well-crafted," Lagundino said. "Every little piece of the play seems to fit. That's the difficulty in directing a play like this. I feel like the playwright is on top of his game. You really have to pay attention to every single word (and) every turn to make the play work as a whole"

Rotch saw the play on Broadway, where it premiered in 2005, and in several other venues. He thinks the intimacy of Perseverance's theatre is well-suited for an "actors piece" such as "Doubt."

"Because it's this character driven story, it's great being close to the actors," he said. "It's a little different when you can see Father Flynn breathe and you don't know if he's telling the truth or not."

Audiences who saw the season's opening comedy, "The Government Inspector," may find resonating ideas presented very differently.

"It's certainly less overtly political," Rotch said. "It just takes on the issues of ethics and integrity. It's a more thoughtful take on it, it's a lot more nuanced than the Government Inspector."

There is no certainty at the end of "Doubt," which will undoubtedly lead to discussions among audience members.

"I do hope that people come away wanting to discuss this and wanting to find the truth of the matter," Lagundino said.

Perseverance staff plans to organize discussions at the theatre after some of the performances, but details have not yet been finalized.

"I think the most important thing is the discussion afterwards," Lagundino said. "I grew up in a religious family and went to church every week. Now I think of theatre as a place of discussion, that sort of venue where people can come together and talk about issues that we all share together."

Perseverance Theatre's production of "Doubt: a Parable" runs from Nov. 2-30. Pay-as-you-can performances are Nov. 2, 5, 6, 9, 13 and 19 at 7:30 p.m. Opening night is Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets for Friday and Saturday performances are $27 for adults, $22 for seniors and military with valid I.D. and $17 for students. Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday and matinee performances are $22/$17/$12.

For tickets or more information visit or call 463-TIXS.

A film version of "Doubt," directed by John Patrick Shanley and featuring Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman, will be released in theaters early December.