In their first foray back to drama in seasons, the New Depot Players couldn’t have made a better selection than “Doubt: A Parable.” Under director Weldon Durham’s masterful instruction, all four of the dynamic cast do author John Patrick Shanley’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony award-winning play beyond proud.
Set in 1964 amid shifts in gender and racial politics, a showdown occurs at a Catholic school in the Bronx between a priest, two nuns and a mother with a boy’s fate and their own souls at stake. When rookie teacher, Sister James, adroitly played by Miranda Tamaska, observes potentially suspect behavior between the school’s first African-American student and Father Flynn, played by the commanding Alan Phelps, she mentions it to her superior.
Bobbie Elzey stands out as the school’s rigid principal, Sister Aloysius. None too fond of Flynn’s progressive sermons - "Doubt can be a bond as powerful and sustaining as certainty,” a snippet from one – she assumes the worst making it her mission to eradicate him and his influence from her domain. To this end, she attempts to enlist Sister James, who’s torn between the two, and Mrs. Muller, played hauntingly by Carolyn Watson as the boy’s mother. “The real bomb that’s dropped is what she brings into the show and her forthrightness,” said Durham.
But, is it what it seems? Are Aloysius’ suspicions founded? Or, was Father Flynn giving encouragement and protecting one of his flock?
As testament to the well-written script and powerful performances, each character presents a convincing case, casting “doubt” to reality.
“I want it to be vibrant and energetic, not too melodramatic,” said Durham, “The idea of a parable is a deceptively gentle story with depths you have to think about.”
Part of the play’s brilliance is trusting the audience to make the call. Allow time for a post-show coffee or cocktail, as a lively debate is guaranteed to ensue. But don’t let the subject matter intimidate you. At a mere 95 minutes, including intermission, the play is an invigorating journey.
“Doubt: A Parable” runs June 9 – 11 and 16 - 18 at 8 p.m. with Sunday matinees on June 12 and 19 at 3 p.m. at 910 Center Street, Conyers. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.thenewdepotplayers.com or call 678-374-3224.