Doubt, subtitled “A Parable”, is set in 1964, the year after the assassination of John F Kennedy, at a Bronx Catholic School, where a strong-minded nun wrestles with her conscience in the face of concerns about one of the priests. Sister Aloysius reveals her initial doubts about the enigmatic Father Flynn to Sister James, an inexperienced but enthusiastic young nun. As her suspicions grow about his inappropriate behaviour with the school’s first black student, a verbal battle of wills begins and she instigates a relentless campaign to remove the priest.
Shanley, who himself studied at an Irish Christian Brothers’ school in the Bronx, is best known for writing the film Moonstruck, which starred Cher and Nicholas Cage and won Shanley a Writers Guild of America award for best screenplay and a best original screenplay Academy Award. First staged Off-Broadway in 2004, Doubt transferred in March 2005 to Broadway’s Walter Kerr Theatre, where it finished in July 2006. In addition to the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Doubt won four Tony Awards, including Best Play.
At the Tricycle, artistic director Nicolas Kent will direct the UK premiere production, which will run from 22 November 2007 to 12 January 2008. Ahead of it, the theatre’s new season launches with the world premiere of Irish playwright Sebastian Barry’s The Pride of Parnell Street (4 to 22 September) and continues with a new production of Ron Hutchinson’s comic tale Moonlight and Magnolias (27 September to 3 November).
In The Pride of Parnell Street’s interweaving monologues, Janet and Joe tell the story of their lives of petty crime in Dublin, the act of violence that shattered their marriage and their long years of suffering before Joe's final redemptive act. The Fishamble production, directed by Jim Culleton, is performed by Mary Murray and Karl Shiels. Barry’s many previous plays include The Steward of Christendom, Our Lady of Sligo and Whistling Psyche.
Moonlight and Magnolias - by Rat in the Skull author Ron Hutchinson – was first seen at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre in 2004. Movie mogul David O Selznick has just shut down production of Gone With the Wind. Determined to rewrite the script, he engages the reluctant services of “script doctor” Ben Hecht, who has never read the book, and director Victor Fleming, poached straight from the set of The Wizard of Oz. His reputation on the line, and with nothing but a stockpile of peanuts and bananas, Selznick locks the three men into his office and a marathon creative session begins. The new production is directed by Sean Holmes and designed by Francis O’Connor.
- by Terri Paddock