June 1, 2, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 2012

Click to see show poster.
Father FlynnTim Brown
Sister AlyosiusKathy Patterson
Sister JamesKelly-Ann Rohrbach
Mrs. MullerFelecia White
Production Staff
DirectorRalph Montesano
Asst. DirectorJerry Brucker
Stage ManagerCheryl Wenhold
Lighting DesignerJ. Bradley Youst
Set DesignRalph Montesano/Dan Lewis
Set Painting/Garden DesignMickey Brown/Nancy Sturm/Lynn Romano
Set ConstructionDan Lewis/Lynn Romano
Costume DesignJoey Haws
Stage CrewCheryl Wenhold/Jerry Brucker/Ben Phillips/Blake Dennis/Cathy Pacheco/Mickey Brown/Shamir

Cast Photos
Click on any image for a larger version, if available.


'Doubt' suspenseful and absorbing at Pa. Playhouse

By Dave Howell, Special to The Morning Call

June 5, 2012

"Doubt: A Parable" deals with suspected child abuse, an issue that has become explosive in the Roman Catholic Church. Although the events seem clearly defined in news accounts, this 2008 play written by John Patrick Shanley keeps you guessing.

"Doubt" lives up to its title. There are no clear answers. It is a character study, expertly performed in an hour and a half without intermission. The stage has only three settings — a courtyard and an office that alternate in center stage, and a pulpit on the side. The latter is used for a few short sermons that relate to the story.

The plot unwinds gradually, and it even includes a little humor. Sister Aloysius (Kathy Patterson) is the extremely stern principal of a Catholic school. She admonishes young Sister James (Kelly-Anne Rohrbach) for being overly enthusiastic in her teaching and innocent in her outlook. It turns out that Sister Aloysius is convinced that Father Flynn (Tim Brown) has had inappropriate contact with a new student, and she wants Sister James to help her find proof.

Father Flynn has a reasonable explanation for his interest in the boy and for the boy's behavior. Sister Aloysius continues to investigate, even calling in his mother Mrs. Muller (Felecia White), questioning her to find evidence against Flynn.

Either Sister Aloysius or Father Flynn can be seen as a villain or a victim, depending on how the events are interpreted. Audience members even get a survey as they enter, to let them vote on Flynn's culpability. The results will be posted on the Pennsylvania Playhouse website after the run of the play.

Brown and Patterson seem to be one-dimensional at first, making Sister Aloysius overbearing and Father Flynn almost saintly. But they gradually bring out different aspects to their characters, as the conflict builds.

Rohrbach deftly shows Sister James just barely breaking out of her timidity, and White is a commanding presence in her smaller but crucial role. The only drawback is that on a few occasions, the clergy actors are a little hard to understand.

The situation in "Doubt" is actually unrealistic, since a conflict between a priest and a nun in the 1960s would surely be settled in favor of the priest. That should not matter at all, however, in this suspenseful and absorbing production directed by Ralph Montesano.

Dave Howell is a freelance writer.

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