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Summerset Theatre raises 'Doubt'

Doubt and certainty run through Summerset Theatre's latest production, which opens July 7.

"Doubt, A Parable" is based, in part, on the personal experiences of playwright John Patrick Shanley, who grew up in Catholic schools in a borough of New York City.

Shanley told the New York Times he was never abused but learned later that a priest he knew had abused a boy.

The play won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a Tony Award for Best Play in 2005. Three years later, it became a movie, starring Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman, and was nominated for several awards, including five Oscars and five Golden Globes. Shanley directed both productions.

The movie and the play tell the story of Sister Aloysius, the principal of a Catholic school in the Bronx in the mid-1960s, who grows suspicious of the Rev. Flynn, a new priest who begins taking too much interest in the life of a young black student.


The play will come to a local stage July 7-10 when Summerset Theatre performs it in the Frank W. Bridges Theatre at Riverland Community College in Austin.

James Douglass, who is the college's communications director, is directing the production for Summerset. He just finished directing it for Rochester Civic Theatre.

He said that while the play touches on the scandals that have recently rocked the Catholic church, it is more about the doubts people generally have and leaves the audience to decide the issues in the play for themselves.

Summerset executive director Jerry Girton said the group's board of directors chose the play because it won a Pulitzer and because it has a good script.

"We try to pick up the Pulitzer Prize winners as soon as they become available," he said.

Those kinds of plays add some variety for the audience and make Summerset's lineup more balanced, he said.

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