Working on DOUBT with Lar’Juanette, Rollin, Rachael, Matthew and Bill has been an incredibly rich experience. The play is challenging. It has caused me to question many things, not the least of which is the nature of teaching and the value of imposed standards. My grandfather – great-grandfather, actually – Dr. Philander Priestly Claxton, started the College of Education at UT in his continuing effort to bring order to the chaos in which the Civil War left education in the South. Now, young teachers are chafing under government orders that they must teach in a certain way to achieve certain goals – much like the difference between Sister James and Sister Aloysius. The way we live together changes. The organization of the Catholic Church is changing as the play is set in 1964, and seems to be undergoing change even today. Surely we must adapt to our changing world. And the nature of our faith? Is it invulnerable to the decisions of the society in which we choose to live? Are our personal standards subject to re-consideration? As much as this play asks us to ponder the value of doubt, I think it asks us to examine the value of certainty. The playwright gives us no answers, but he certainly opens a world of questions!
– Carol Mayo Jenkins
This script is poignant and very well written. It asks all the right questions and leaves the audience to struggle with the answers. The actors had their work cut out for them in creating these deeply layered characters. In my opinion they did an excellent job. My heart went out to every one of them.
Living in a fallen world, knowing ourselves and our neighbors to be deeply flawed individuals, we desperately cling to the Sovereignty of God; yet we, like Uzzah, often stretch out our hand to steady the Ark. Like Sarah, we give our handmaiden to Abraham in an attempt to hurry along a promised child. Have we not all behaved as if perhaps He just needed our help?
I could see my own nature in those characters. Sometimes I am naive, sometimes oblivious, other times self-indulgent. At times I, too, have acted as if it all was riding on my shoulders. DOUBT is indeed a parable. It will expose your heart. Call it into question and demand that you wrestle with it. In the end that is a very good thing!
– Jennifer Smee
Without a doubt, the WordPlayers’ recent production of DOUBT is well worth the investment of time and energy. Of course, I enjoyed all that Carol Mayo Jenkins brought to her role as Sister Aloysius. But the rest of the cast — Sister James and Father Flynn and Mrs. Muller — are all very strong and convincing as well. There is a thread of tension these four kept taut for the duration of the play, a tension I still feel a bit now — three days after the performance. I especially enjoyed the penultimate exchange between Sister Aloysius and Father Flynn. Hey Knoxville! Take a little time for live, local theatre!
– Kenny Woodhull