Rubicon Theatre Company Presents DOUBT, A PARABLE
Wednesday, January 27, 2010; Posted:
04:01 PM - by BWW News Desk
Theatre Company continues the 2009-2010 Season, "Defying
Expectations," with DOUBT: A PARABLE by John Patrick Shanley.
Set in a Catholic Church school in the Bronx in the fall of 1964,
DOUBT: A PARABLE is a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning drama
about Sister Aloysius, a rigid and conservative principal with
exacting standards, who believes that in order for students to be
properly prepared for the world, teachers must offer discipline over
compassion. She suspects that a gregarious priest, Father Flynn, newly
arrived to the parish, is too friendly with the students, and that he
is paying too much attention to young Donald Muller, the first Negro
student ever to be admitted to the school. Through conversation with
an innocent, hopeful young nun (Sister James), Sister Aloysius becomes
certain that Father Flynn has, or is capable of, an improper
relationship with Donald; but she cannot prove her allegations. If she
charges him, she will destroy his career, and perhaps her own. She
further questions Sister James, as well as Donald's mother. The story
leaves us with questions about what has - and should have - happened,
who is right or wrong, and the nature of faith and love.
Says Rubicon Artistic Director James O'Neil, "DOUBT: A PARABLE is
a thinking-person's play. It asks us to think about important moral
dilemmas for which there are no easy answers. It is an intelligent,
powerful, provocative piece that we know will stimulate spirited
discussion and debate amongst our audience members."
Directed by Artistic Associate Jenny Sullivan, the play features a
cast of returning Rubicon veterans, among them company member Joseph
Fuqua (RTC's Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Hamlet), Robin Pearson Rose
(All My Sons, Samuel Beckett's Happy Days), Chicago-based Lauren
Patten (The Diary of Anne Frank, Fiddler on the Roof), and Collette
Porteous (You Can't Take It With You).
DOUBT: A PARABLE opens this Saturday, January 30 at 7:00 p.m. at
Rubicon's home at Laurel and Main in Ventura's Downtown Cultural
District, 1006 E. Main Street, Ventura, CA 93001. Low-cost previews
begin Wednesday, January 27 at 7:00 p.m. and continued Thursday,
January 28 and Friday, January 29 at 8:00 p.m. The regular performance
schedule is Wednesdays at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., Thursdays at 8:00
p.m., Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. and
Sundays at 2:00 p.m. For tickets, call (805) 667-2900 or go to
History of the Production
DOUBT opened on Broadway in 2005 at the Walter Kerr Theatre, directed
by Doug Hughes. The original cast included Cherry Jones and Brian F.
O'Byrne, who were followed by Eileen Atkins and Ron Eldard in 2006.
The show ran in New York for 525 performances. DOUBT swept the 2005
awards ceremonies, winning four Tony Awards, five Drama Desk Awards,
the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play, the New York Drama
Critics' Circle Award for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Jones toured with the production, which won the 2007 Touring Broadway
Award. The West Coast premiere with Linda Hunt took place at Pasadena
Playhouse. The production has since played in more than 25 countries
and has been directed by Nicolas Ken and Roman Polanski, among others.
The film version of DOUBT premiered in 2008 with Meryl Streep, Philip
Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Viola Davis. Shanley directed. DOUBT is
also featured in "The Fourth Wall," a book of photographs by
Amy Arbus for which Shanley wrote the forward.
The idea for the story of DOUBT was inspired by characters Shanley
knew as a young man. "I went to a church in the Bronx," says
Shanley, "in 1964."
"It was such a specific world that has now vanished," he
continues, "a world involving the Sisters of Charity, who dressed
in black robes and black bonnets. More recently, the world around me
started to remind me in certain key ways of this time - of people of
conviction and people who weren't certain, at odds with each other and
their power struggle."
Shanley dedicated the film version of DOUBT to Sister Margaret
McEntee, a Sister of Charity nun who was the basis for the character
of Sister James, the role played by Lauren Patten at Rubicon. (Sister
McEntee was Shanley's first-grade teacher and served as a technical
adviser for the film.)
Just a year after the play opened, a story with some parallels to
DOUBT hit national news' headlines. A priest in Chicago was convicted
of abusing African-American boys at St. Agatha parish in Chicago's
North Lawndale area. Like Father Flynn, the character in DOUBT, the
arrested priest Father McCormack had been a basketball coach.
Despite any similarities, however, Shanley is quick to say that he
did not create the play from his own past or from actual
circumstances. He points to the words "A PARABLE" (added as
part of the title when the script was published after the opening on
Says Shanley, "I wasn't interested particularly in writing about
the church scandals, and I wasn't really interested in writing a
whodunit. I'm more interested in people becoming more accepting and
comfortable with living with doubt because I think that's one of the
big problems we've had in this country in the last decade."
Continues Shanley, "There has been this evaporation of doubt as a
hallmark of wisdom. Everyone is very entrenched. True discourse is
nowhere to be found. And we're desperate for it."
More about the Playwright
John Patrick Shanley is an American playwright, screenwriter and
director. He was born in New York in 1950 to blue-collar parents. His
mother was a telephone operator and his father a meatpacker. A rebel
at an early age, he was thrown out of Catholic School in kindergarten
and sent to a private school (Thomas Moore Prep) in New Hampshire. He
attended New York University, but left to enlist in the U.S. Marine
Core before completing his degree. After his service, he returned to
NYU on the G.I. Bill and graduated in 1977 as class valedictorian.
Sometimes dubbed "the Bard of the Bronx," several of
Shanley's scripts (including his first Five Corners, and DOUBT) are
set in that part of New York where he grew up. He has written more
than twenty works for the stage, including Savage in Limbo, Danny and
the Deep Blue Sea, Italian-American Reconciliation, Four Dogs and a
Bone and Defiance. He has also had ten produced screenplays. For the
script for the 1987 film "Moonstruck," which starred Cher
and Nicholas Cage, Shanley won the Academy Award for Best Original
Screenplay and the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Screenplay
Written Directly for the Screen. In 1990 he directed his own script of
"Joe Versus the Volcano" with Tom Hanks. (He also wrote two
songs for the movie: "Marooned Without You" and "The
Cowboy Song"). Shanley was inducted into the Bronx Walk of Fame
in 2004. For DOUBT, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the Drama
Desk Award and the Tony Award for Best Play. He directed the film
version as well. He is a member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre.
ROBIN PEARSON ROSE plays the tenacious and stern Sister Aloysius. An
Associate Artist of The Old Globe in San Diego, Rose has appeared in
the Broadway productions of Holiday and The Visit (directed by Hal
Prince), and the Off-Broadway production of Summer and Smoke
(Roundabout Theatre Company). For Rubicon, she has previously appeared
in Samuel Beckett's Happy Days, All My Sons (Ovation for Best
Production, Larger Theatre) and You Can't Take it With You. Other
major regional credits include work at the Huntington, American
Conservatory Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, South Coast Rep
and Yale Rep (she received her MFA from the Yale School of Drama).
Rose has numerous television and film credits, including
"Something's Gotta Give," "What Women Want,"
"Speechless," "Fearless" (Peter Weir, director),
"Last Resort" opposite Charles Grodin, and "An Enemy of
the People" opposite Steve McQueen.
In the production, the role of Father Flynn is assayed by Rubicon
Theatre's first company member JOSEPH FUQUA, who has made
chameleon-like appearances in 17 classic and contemporary productions
with the company over 12 seasons. Also a Yale graduate, Fuqua's
Broadway and Off-Broadway credits include Brighton Beach Memoirs and
110 in the Shade (Lincoln Center), Raft of the Medusa and Yours, Anne.
Regionally, he has worked with Actor's Theatre of Louisville, Arena
Stage, Dallas Shakespeare Festival, Dallas Theatre Center and Ensemble
Theatre. On television Fuqua has guest-starred on "The
X-Files", "The Profiler," "Brooklyn South,"
"The Pretender," "Chicago Hope," "Star Trek:
Deep Space Nine," "Becker" and the pilot "Second
Nature." Film credits include "Ed's Next Move,"
"David Searching," "Heyday" and J.E.B. Stuart in
the Warner Brothers film "Gods and Generals" with Robert
Chicago-native LAUREN PATTEN made her Rubicon debut as the title role
in The Diary of Anne Frank with Bruce Weitz and Linda Purl. She
returned to Rubicon and was nominated for the 2008 Ovation Award for
her role as Elma in Bus Stop, and played Chava in last year's
environmental production of Fiddler on the Roof. Other credits include
work with the Goodman Theatre, Chicago Children's Theatre, Chicago
Dramatists and the Summer Play Festival of New York City.
As Mrs. Muller, COLLETTE PORTEOUS makes her second appearance with
Rubicon, having played Rheba in the company's production of You Can't
Take it With You. New York theatre credits include Bedlam (The
Producers Club), The Ballad of Baxter Street (Theater for the New
City), Twelfth Night (Great Egress Theater Company), and the solo
performance of Can I Be Me (NYU Africa House).
Rounding out the company are Production Stage Manager KATHLEEN J.
PARSONS, whose credits include work with the National Theatre of the
Deaf and Access Theatre, and LINDA LIVINGSTON (a favorite on Ventura
stages) as understudy for Sister Aloysius.
Director and Designers
Director JENNY SULLIVAN helmed productions of Who's Afraid of Virginia
Woolf? (Indie Award) with Joe Spano and Karyl Lynn Burns and the
premiere of Spit Like A Big Girl written by and starring Clarinda Ross
during Rubicon's 2008-2009 Season. Most recently, Jenny directed Tea
at Five starring Stephanie Zimbalist for Ensemble Theatre. Other
Rubicon credits include You Can't Take It With You (Indie Award);
Hamlet with Joseph Fuqua (Indie Award); One Flew Over the Cuckoo's
Nest; Tuesdays with Morrie; Happy Days with Robin Pearson Rose;
Defying Gravity; Art (Indie Award); Dancing at Lughnasa (Indie Award);
The Rainmaker; The Little Foxes; two casts of Ancestral Voices; Love
Letters with Jack Lemmon and Felicia Farr; and Old Wicked Songs with
Harold Gould and Joseph Fuqua. Jenny has also directed for Manitoba
Theatre Centre in Canada, The Long Wharf, Pasadena Playhouse,
Williamstown Theatre Festival (six seasons) and Off-Broadway.
DOUBT Set Designer ALAN E. MURAOKA has been honored with two Emmy
nominations and three Art Directors' Guild Award nominations. Alan
began his career as an assistant set designer in New York on Broadway
productions of On Your Toes, The Tap Dance Kid, The Three Musketeers,
Smile, Jerry's Girls, and the ballets Bounenville Variations and Ives
Songs for New York City. Now an L.A. resident, he has served as Art
Director on "Ace Ventura-Pet Detective," "The
Specialist," "Washington Square," "Liberty
Heights"; the television series "NYPD Blue"; and most
recently, the miniseries "The Company" and film "Little
Miss Sunshine". Theatrical projects have included the critically
acclaimed productions for the Long Beach Opera of Ricky Ian Gordon's
Orpheus and Euridice staged in an Olympic swimming pool, an opera
adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank staged in an underground parking
garage, and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Trying, and Vincent in
Brixton at the Old Globe theatre in San Diego. Alan earned his BA in
Music and Art History at Yale University and his MFA in Theatrical
Design from New York University. Alan has also been an adjunct
lecturer at USC School of Cinematic Arts.
JEREMY PIVNICK, Lighting Designer, returns to the Rubicon after
designing A Rubicon Family Christmas (2008 and 2009), Man of La
Mancha, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Hamlet, A Delicate Balance and
Waiting for Godot, among others. Off-Broadway, Jeremy designed The
Marvelous Wonderettes (Westside Theatre). Other New York credits
include Good Bobby (59E59 Theatre), Corpus Christi (Rattlestick
Theatre) and Moscow (Connelly Theatre). Regionally, Jeremy has
designed over 200 productions and won numerous awards, including two
L.A. Stage Alliance Ovation Awards (17 nominations), four Backstage
West Garland Awards and the L.A. Drama Critics' Circle Angstrom Award
for Career Achievement.
Costume Designer PAMELA SHAW returns to Rubicon, having previously
designed The Little Foxes, The Rainmaker, Art and Defying Gravity.
Recent design work includes The Oresteia (Ghost Road Ensemble);
Hamlet, The Tempest, A Midsummer Night's Dream, A Christmas Carol and
Tom Sawyer (Will and Co.); The Elephant Man, Children's Hour, The
Rocky Horror Show and Lope de Vega's Lo vingido ferdadero (Loyola
KENNY HOBBS serves as Sound Designer, having been nominated for an
Ovation for his design for Rubicon's Fools. He also created the sound
effects for All in The Timing, Little Women, Our Town, and many other
shows and special event on the Rubicon stage.
In addition to her work as Prop Designer, T. THERESA SCARANO is
currently director of Premier Sets and also Production Manager with
Cabrillo Music Theatre.
DOUBT is generously sponsored by JANET AND MARK GOLDENSON. Mr. Fuqua's
appearance is underwritten by DR. NORMA BECK. Artist accommodations
are provided by the MARRIOTT VENTURA BEACH.
Dates, Show Times and Ticket Information
DOUBT runs ninety minutes without intermission. The Press Premiere and
Opening Gala for DOUBT takes place this Saturday, January 30 at 7:00
p.m. at Rubicon Theatre Company, 1006 E. Main Street, Ventura, CA
93001. Champagne and truffles will be served in the lobby beginning at
6:15 p.m. First-night attendees are invited to join the cast and VIP's
for an after-party hosted by the FOUR POINTS SHERATON. The evening is
sponsored by SANTA BARBARA BANK & TRUST. Tickets for the Premiere
are $95 and include the show, pre and post-show parties and a
tax-deductible donation to Rubicon. Low-priced previews of DOUBT are
Wednesday, January 27 at 7:00 p.m., Thursday, January 28 at 8:00 p.m.
and Friday, January 29 at 8:00 p.m. The production continues for a
limited run through Sunday, February 21. Performances are Wednesdays
at 2 and 7 p.m., Thursdays at 8 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at
2 and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. Some Sunday evenings may be
scheduled. Prices range from $39 to $59, depending on the day of the
Talkbacks are scheduled after the 7:00 p.m. performances on the first
two Wednesdays of the run, February 3 and 10. There is also one Sunday
matinee audio-described performance for individuals who are blind or
hearing-impaired (call for details.) Assistive listening devices are
available at all performances at the concession stand. Tickets may be
purchased in person through the box office, located at 1006 E. Main
Street (Laurel entrance). To charge by phone, call (805) 667-2900. To
select dates and seats online, go to www.rubicontheatre.org.