Ideologies collide in play

NANAIMO – Theatre One presents Pulitzer Prize-winning Doubt: A Parable at Malaspina Theatre this week.

Actor Frank Zotter stars as Father Flynn in TheatreOne's production of Doubt: A Parable.

Actor Frank Zotter stars as Father Flynn in TheatreOne's production of Doubt: A Parable.

Two ideologies collide in the Bronx when a liberal-minded priest squares off with a deeply orthodox nun in TheatreOne’s latest production.

Set in 1964 at a fictional church known as St. Nicholas Church School, Doubt: A Parable details the story of Father Flynn, who is accused of engaging in unacceptable behaviour with one of the students, and an orthodox nun, Sister Aloysius, who will stop at nothing to discover the truth.

Doubt: A Parable will be presented at Vancouver Island University’s Malaspina Theatre on Wednesday (April 23). Actor Frank Zotter, who plays Flynn in the TheatreOne’s production that is directed by David Mann, recalled the first time he saw the play on Broadway.

“It stayed with me for days afterwards,” Zotter said. “It’s not your typical piece of theatre because it has so much to offer.”

Doubt: A Parable was written by John Patrick Shanley and made its Broadway debut in 2005, where it ran for a total of 525 performances.

Those that attend the play can expect to see a riveting and unpredictable piece of theatre that is smart, engaging and funny, according to Zotter.

“It’s a not a whodunit, but it has that dynamic that does keep people hooked throughout the play. It’s such a battle of wits between the nun and the priest and that confrontation is so rich. It’s almost really like a prize match. It’s like a good fight. It’s really well constructed,” he said. “Everyone’s arguments are so solid.”

Zotter describes his character, Father Flynn, as a progressive-minded and charismatic priest who has a lot of subtext to him.

“He is someone who has a true sensitive heart and a big empathetic nature and I think he really wants to make a good change through the church … but there is a lot going on underneath that you don’t necessarily hear,” he said. “He’s thinking things that don’t necessarily get expressed. So it’s a great acting exercise when you have to internalize a lot of stuff. It gives a great kind of depth to a performance.”

The play is also loaded with issues that touch on themes such as the church, gender, morality, honesty and tradition.

“It just puts you in a place where you really have to look at the mirror and look back at yourself and ask yourself what you believe and how does this affect how I saw the show. It’s so provocative. It’s a stunning play,” Zotter said.

In 2005, Doubt: A Parable won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a Tony Award for Best Play. Zotter recalled how profound of an impact the play had on him and the other theatregoers when he saw it.

“I was in an audience with all these theatre connoisseurs on Broadway, who see theatre all the time and they were gasping at lines because they were so surprising. The characters were saying things that you wouldn’t ever believe and I’ve never experienced that so effectively in theatre before. I was freaked out by it because it leaves you with so much doubt. Afterwards I was just kind of walking around in a daze in New York afterwards for about a half an hour,” Zotter said. “I remember being blocks away from the theatre and I got alone and I saw across the street and there was a guy who had the same expression as me. He was so freaked out. I realized we both had the same program and we lifted them up in the air across the road from each other. Then we started talking and we had to go out for a drink afterwards and we ended up talking for two hours about the play.”

Zotter said his first reaction to the Shanley play was similar to the first time he ever saw Star Wars.

“Star Wars just made you gasp because it was engaging and different and visual and it just had so many cool things to watch,” Zotter said.

Doubt runs from April 23-27 at the Malaspina Theatre at VIU with 2 p.m. matinees on April 26- 27. Tickets are $30; $22 for April 23 show.

Fore more, please visit

Just Posted

John A. Read, who was inspired to leave his former career to become a professional astronomy by the purchase of a $13 telescope, will give beginning astronomers key pointers on how to set up and get the best performance from their instruments at Nanaimo Astronomy Society’s meeting June 24. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Read)
Astrophysicist will talk about getting the most out of a telescope at Nanaimo astronomy meeting

John Read’s purchase of a $13 telescope led to a degree in astrophysics and a career in astronomy

Nanaimo rapper Sirreal plays the Port Theatre on June 25. (Photo courtesy Alanna Morton)
Nanaimo rapper Sirreal and friends play the Port Theatre

Live-streamed concert the second in venue’s Discovery Series highlighting local artists

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement, stating that Nanaimo will see temperatures between five-10 degrees above seasonal the next two days. (News Bulletin file)
Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement, stating that Nanaimo will see temperatures between five-10 degrees above normal the next two days. (News Bulletin file)
Heat wave will see Nanaimo temperatures rise 5-10 degrees above normal

Sun with highs of 28 C forecast by Environment Canada for Harbour City on Sunday and Monday

According to a staff report, Regional District of Nanaimo has seen some $13.6 million in grant applications approved between Jan. 1 and May 15. (News Bulletin file)
Close to $14 million in money granted to RDN in first half of year

Successful grants include more than $4 million for transit service in Regional District of Nanaimo

A section of the rail corridor on Vancouver Island. (Black Press file photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Put rail trail right overtop of the tracks

Removing tracks would be a horrendous expense, says letter writer

Robin Dutton, left, and Peter Sinclair are taking their mountain bikes and travelling down trails in the Mount Benson area June 19 as part of a 24-hour fundraiser benefiting Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Full-day mountain bike fundraiser gives financial support for Nanaimo food bank

Event part of Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank’s Food 4 Summer campaign

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding partnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read