Breaking and Entering Theatre is making its debut in the Toronto theatre scene with Doubt: A Parable by John Patrick Shanley. Directed by Dora Award winner Stewart Arnott, this bold, site-specific production is one for the history books! Being performed at the Church of the Holy Trinity in the heart of downtown, Doubt is truly must-see theatre.
Doubt gracefully tackles one of the most delicate and critical issues facing the Catholic Church in a tasteful and gripping story about a priest who is being accused of having an intimate relationship with a student by the nun who is the principal of their school. With just his word against her suspicion, aided by the observations of a younger, more naïve nun, their world begins to unravel as certainty and doubt become ever more mixed. I love the stage play version of this story because it does leave so much to the imagination, to our own doubt. With a small cast of characters, we never get the whole story, just the web of assumptions, observations, and accusations.
What makes this particular production a must-see, aside from the incredible cast, is the location. They make amazing use of the church space and the pre-existing architecture to create a fully immersive experience. I loved listening to their voices echo in the vaulted roof, to see Father Flynn up at a real pulpit preaching to the audience, the stained glass all around us; it was a phenomenal decision and gives the play a whole other level of gravitas than what it already carries.
Brian Bisson plays Father Flynn, the priest under suspicion. He is charismatic and fun as Father Flynn, welcoming us as the audience into his flock from the real pulpit of the church. He makes him so likeable that the accusations thrust upon him seem impossible. Deborah Drakeford is a tour-de-force as Sister Aloysius, the principal of the school. With a passion and fury that would frighten even the most saucy of students, Drakeford’s Aloysius was marvellous. Yet her final moments of the play were so heartbreaking and beautiful; we really get to see her full range of incredible talent. Emma Nelles plays Sister James, the sweet, enthusiastic teacher. I related to Sister James a great deal, as someone who often cannot hide her unbridled joy at a subject. Nelles does an amazing job of showing just how kind-hearted but malleable Sister James is; her good heart shines through every moment. Kim Nelson rounds out the cast as Mrs. Muller, the mother of the young boy potentially being assaulted. Nelson gives a fantastic performance, packing so much raw emotion into the one scene which she shares with Drakeford. This small but mighty role is done great justice by Nelson.
Doubt: A Parable only runs until November 13th, so get your tickets FAST! I promise, you won’t want to miss this! For more information and tickets, visit: Bnetheatre | Breaking And Entering Productions (bneproductions.ca)
Photo By David Leyes