Monday, January 19, 2015
Doubt, a play: did the catholic priest do it or not?
There is a theater company in Berlin, MA – that wants us to think. They say that “too many risky and complex theatrical productions are kept from the public”. They want audiences to analyze, question, and discuss the messages and meanings of their plays. The Flyleaf Theater Company chose the play “Doubt, A Parable”, by John Patrick Shanley. The play won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play and became the 2008 film “Doubt” starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Meryl Streep.
This production of the play, directed by Mariagrazia LaFauci, takes a hard look at the complex, dark, and troubling moral dilemmas faced by the people of the fictional St. Nicholas Elementary School in the Bronx in 1964. Sister Aloysius, the school principal, suspects the parish priest, Father Flynn of sexually molesting the school’s only African-American student, Donald Muller. Is the priest guilty without a doubt? The play makes us think and examine our own beliefs about the conduct of clergy who are trusted with the lives of children.
What makes this Flyleaf production unique is that they invited members of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), including me, and other survivors who were sexually abused by priests to come and talk to the actors. They wanted to understand the reality of how it feels to be abused by those who vowed to protect us. They helped us by caring and we believe the insight they gained will make their production of Doubt a better play.
The theater was filled and the play was a success. There were people of all ages and the play made a lot of people think about the issue of pedophile priests who can get access to our children. The director, Mariagrazia LaFauci put together a group of good actors, eye catching sets and lighting and an obvious awareness of the reality of the issue to create an image that will stay with the audience. The play was better than the movie and I think that is because the movie director didn’t talk to real survivors. It was so great when the Executive Director of Flyleaf, J. Parker Eldridge, announced that part of the proceeds from the play will be donated to The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). Considering that Flyleaf is a non-profit organization what they have done is even more extraordinary. They are a great group of professional, dedicated and caring people – thank you all.