Rubicon Theatre Company Presents DOUBT, A PARABLE
Rubicon 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 www.rubicontheatre.org.
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 Broadway.)
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 Duvall.
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 Marymount University).
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 week.
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.