DOUBT – At New Conservatory Theatre

Powerful one act took the 2005 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New Play, the Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play, and the Tony Award for Best Play

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

From now until February 28th, John Patrick Shanley’s Pulitzer Prize winning drama DOUBT continues at New Conservatory Theatre Centre. Directed by Ben Randle, the cast features Scarlett Hepworth (Sister Aloysius), Roselyn Hallett (Sister James) , Andrew Nance (Father Flynn), and Pamela Smith (Mrs. Muller). The story takes place in 1964. The world was still trembling over the assassination of President Kennedy, the passing of Pope John XXIII, and the continuation of the Second Vatican Council which – among many changes and goals – sought greater participation in church liturgy by the congregants and dismissed the Latin text of the Mass in favor of the local and national vernacular. It was a time of great questioning, of faith-testing, and for many – the loss or restructuring of certain traditions, i.e., meatless Fridays, the removal of certain Saints from the calendar (including St. Christopher), and eventually the disappearance of ancient dress codes (the “habit”) of certain orders of nuns and other religious actively functioning within the local parish.

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Andrew Nance, Roselyn Hallett, and Scarlett Hepworth. Photo, Lois Tema

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Andrew Nance and Pamela Smith (Mrs. Muller). Photos, Lois Tema

Some Catholics welcomed the extreme changes – especially those concerning the Church’s long-established aura of and relationship to mystery, mysticism, and separatism. The more orthodox, however, were angry and even disillusioned. For many, it was the season of doubt. Some would agree the Devil was in the details. Enter the progressive “Father Flynn” to take charge of and shepherd the Bronx community of St. Nicholas and its elementary school. He will need more than his agility with a basketball to maneuver around the conservative policies and politics of its long-residing principal – the Sister Superior. “Sister Aloysius” has become convinced the young priest with the unusually long fingernails and engaging manner is out to molest the children under her care. A much younger and naive nun, “Sister James”, has admitted to her of recent happenings involving the school’s only Black child, Donald Muller, and the persuasive priest. The primary concern of the boy’s mother is that her (perhaps homosexual) son survive the school year – no matter what – and be eligible for admission to a quality high school. A few heated exchanges and strategic phone calls later, Father Flynn is promoted and transferred by his Bishop to another parish. Sister Aloysius is left with her own doubts. But, about what?
Click here to order tickets on-line: DOUBT

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Andrew Nance and Scarlett Hepworth. Photos, Lois Tema

View scenes from Doubt at NCTC:

Beginning February 26th at NCTC: SUGAR WITCH
A Southern Gothic Tale 
written by Nathan Sanders, directed by Dennis Lickteig. A Florida family confronts madness, truth, and the destructive legacy of racism as the spirits of the dead walk the dark swamp, haunting the hearts of all who live there. Dark family secrets are revealed, and unusual passions are ignited. Click here to purchase tickets on-line: SUGAR WITCH

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SUGAR WITCH. Photo, Lois Tema

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Visit Seán on YouTube:
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DALILAH – In residence at San Francisco’s de Young Museum

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

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