Actor and theater lecturer Maureen Porter directs Doubt, a Parable, by John Patrick Shanley. Performances continue October 3–5 and October 9–12 at 8:00 p.m. and October 5 and 12 at 2:00 p.m. in the Donald Savage Theater and Communication Building's Flexible Theater.
“I loved that the play was completely actor-focused with four characters telling the story,” Porter said. “Thematically, the play was very appealing as the story deals with the idea of standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. In addition, I loved the fact that the audience is really the jury.”
The drama takes places in a Catholic school in 1964 and focuses on a charismatic priest, Father Flynn (played by Jesse Tiebor), whom the principal, Sister Aloysius (Chelsea Correa), suspects is molesting a 12-year-old boy. This boy happens to be the school’s first African American student and he doesn’t have many friends. The stern principal recruits young Sister James (Molly Bader) to help monitor Flynn. The boy is not included in the play, but his mother, Mrs. Muller (Khadijah King), is.
“The actors are just amazing with their handling of the material,” Porter said. “They have been enthusiastic about researching the time period when the play took place.”
The play occurs 11 months after President Kennedy was assassinated and four months after the march on Washington led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The students had to do the research to understand what that felt like, Porter said.
Additionally, Porter invited Buffalo State’s Sister Charlene Fontana to talk to the actors about her experience as a nun, specifically in the 1960s when the Catholic Church was changing.
“The students were so enchanted with her. They talked to her for hours,” Porter said. “Her expertise only makes the production better.”
Overall, Doubt is definitely a play that will leave the audience guessing.
“Shanley doesn’t connect all the dots for you,” Porter said. “I believe that every night each audience member will walk out of the theater with different perspectives on what really happened.”
Tickets are $15 general admission; $10 for faculty and staff; $6 for Buffalo State students, and free for high school students with ID. Order through the Rockwell Hall Box Office, online, or by phone (716) 878-3005.
Pictured: Jesse Tiebor as Father Flynn and Chelsea Correa as Sister Aloysius