I came, I saw and I left with no doubts.
My experience of the play “Doubt” was breathtaking. As a student, it was an opportunity to explore the psychological side of everything that we rarely ever find time for. The world of school and rules were an element of the play I could easily relate too. Even though there were only four characters in the play, they brought it to life so well. The script was excellent and easy to comprehend.
The plot had us at the edge of our seats. Needless to say, we were filled with doubts. Were Sister Aloysius' instincts about Father Thomas right? What would the Father do about it? The ending was impeccable with the necessary twist. The sets and costumes complemented the play as it unfolded with suspense, drama, tragedy, and even humour.
Nandhika Nambi, Ramanathapuram
Food for thought
While younger generation theatre artists are trying to make a difference by performing plays based on contemporary themes, the Madras Players and Boardwalkers gave a classic performance that left the audience thinking about the big convictions and small doubts in their lives. The props were realistic, and the use of the black and white colours were innovative. The actors and production team put up a show with very high standards. With sprinkles of humour the play dealt with the human mind. Hari Vallabi, Race Course
The axis of doubt
Where there is doubt there is trouble. If a man doubts his wife the end result may be murder as in the case of “Othello”. In this play the principal questions Father Thomas's relationship with a boy. She tells a young nun to be alert and careful about the priest as there is none above suspicion. The mother of the boy is also drawn into the conflict. The entire play revolves round the axis of doubt.
P.C. Ramakrishna, in the role of the Parish Priest, gave a splendid performance. Director Michael Muthu succeeded in sowing the seeds of doubt in everyone's mind. T. S. Krishnamurthi, Periyanaickenpalayam
If the point of “Doubt” was to cast aspersions in the minds of the audience about Father Thomas' moral integrity or lead us to recognize that within Sister Aloysius' grim certitude of Thomas' character lay uneasy doubts, it did not come through. At no point in the play was Aloysius' condemnation of Thomas shared by the audience or the portrayal of Thomas indicative that he had paedophilic or homosexual tendencies. On the contrary, Thomas came across as too pat and tidy. Indrani, while brilliant as Aloysius, failed to convince that her life could hold any shades of grey. Therefore the break down in the final act seemed out of character.
While the acting of the entire cast was very good, with special mention to Nikhila Kesavan as the child's mother, “Doubt” unfortunately did not leave the viewer in any moral ambiguity or dilemma.
Shobha Viswanath, Isha Home School
The promise of the play is revealed right from the beginning – the opening monologue by Father Thomas that sets the “Doubt” in motion. The beauty of the Pulitzer Prize winning script is brought alive by an outstanding cast - Father Thomas, the compassionate priest with his powerful monologues, Sister Aloysius with her harshness and reign of terror who is so certain of her stand, Sister James with her refreshingly uncrushed ideals and the mother with her middle class morality. The audience is never given any clue of the truth until the end. Was Father Thomas a compassionate priest or did he exploit the boy? Was Sister Aloysius justified in what she did? Is doubt as certain as certainty as one of the characters says? You leave the hall with all these questions after what can be easily called one of the most memorable theatrical evenings.
Santhya Vikram, Yellow Train
Frustration, suspicion, jealousy and the holier-than-thou self righteous portrayal by Sister Aloysius was superb. Yet it was pity and pain that I felt for her as she broke down at the end, a lonely woman, devoid of humane feelings. Father Thomas' resounding sermons on doubt, and gossip mongering were beautifully rendered and were thought provoking. His reactions to accusations of the two nuns left us in doubt as to his motives for being compassionate.
The acting was natural, and dialogue adaptation to Indian situations well considered. The quick set changes and light effects are lessons for us amateurs to adopt and learn from to improve ourselves. Thank you MPTF.
Shashi Ghulati, Thadagam Link Road
“Doubt” shed light on a serious social issue where children have been exploited and its perpetrators have gone scot-free. It was an excellent intermingling of a variety of characters and the actors came up with gripping performances.
The thespians embodied their roles superbly; the supporting audio effects effectively transported you to another place; and overall it was certainly provocative and provided food for thought.
Vivek Narayan, Ramanathapuram
The way the play started, with the Father's sermon, was captivating. All through the play, the Father's screen presence was mind boggling. The play left me agonising about the priest and whether he was guilty or had an innocent man been unjustly punished. The Principal was haughty and grim right until the climax, when she breaks down. Mrs. Anandaraj was bang-on — the mannerism, the slang was so typical of a middle class woman. The gullible young Sister, according to me, was the star of the play. She had great moments on stage besides an amazing presence.
Jyothikarthik N, Vadavalli
Keywords: The Hindu MetroPlus Theatre Fest 2011