by Robert Bell
I've not seen a stage production of John Patrick Shanley's Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning play "Doubt: A Parable." But I did see the 2008 film adaptation starring Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman, and I imagine that the original work is similarly powerful and probably all the more appropriately tense and cloistered-feeling in the intimate setting of a theater.
Set in a New York Catholic Church in the 1960s, "Doubt" concerns Father Flynn, who runs afoul of the powerful and controlling church school principal Sister Aloysius, who begins to plot against him. I don't want to give too much away about the ending, but the play's central theme is made apparent by its title, and one of the most striking passages in the film is a parable about the pernicious and uncontrollable power of gossip, delivered by the besieged Father Flynn to his flock.