BY RUTH RICE
Local productions of John Patrick Shanley’s Tony Award-winning play, “Doubt,” will be presented at 7:30 tonight through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at Bottle Works Ethnic Arts Center, 411 Third Ave. in the Cambria City section of Johnstown.
Director Rodney Eatman wanted to give back to Bottle Works after being named Artist of the Year in 2009.
“I was flattered to be chosen and wanted to see theater thrive in the city,” Eatman said.
“I think we’ve all been blessed by Bottle Works and its interest in undergirding the arts.”
Eatman organized the actors, and the proceeds will go to Bottle Works.
His impromptu theater group has no name or long-range plans.
“I wanted to be specific about this wonderful play in a small venue,” Eatman said.
“I want to bring people in to make them aware of Bottle Works, which can profit not only monetarily, but by the number of people who had not known about Bottle Works before coming.”
The play is set in the fictional St. Nicholas Church school in the Bronx in the fall of 1964 and depicts a conflict between Father Flynn, a progressive parish priest, and the school’s conservative principal, Sister Aloysius.
The “doubt” of the title centers around the nun’s suspicion that Flynn is having an inappropriate relationship with one of his young students.
Curtis Caldwell will play Father Brendan Flynn, with Kyra Kozielec-Gilmore as Sister Aloysius Beauvier.
The cast will be rounded out by Jayme Brooks as Sister James and Patricia Holifield as Mrs. Muller.
Eatman has worked with all the actors before, except Holifield.
He will use the small studio space of the George and Eileen Katter Theater for corridor staging, which means the acting area will be in the center of the theater with the audience on two sides.
“If you put the stage at one end of the theater, the audience in the back will need risers to see,” Eatman explained.
“This way there will be four rows on each side, so the audience will be closer.”
The very minimal props of the show will be set up from the beginning, with the spotlight moving with the actors to each scene.
Eatman said the staging is a modification of what he did while director at Pitt-Johnstown’s studio theater, and all his actors have performed in that kind of setting before.
“This is the smallest staging we’ve ever worked in,” Eatman said.
“It’s like theater in your lap. The proximity creates the feeling of film or television.”
In addition to his actors, Eatman also has praise for his support staff, which includes Crystal Fabina, stage manager; David Ward, production manager; William Brice, lighting; and Winnie Voytko, costumes.
When Eatman saw “Doubt” in New York, he was staggered by the power of the play, which won a Tony Award for best play and a 2005 Pulitzer Prize for drama.
The 90-minute drama was written to be performed in one sitting, so there will be no intermission.
“It will hit the audience from square one to the powerful ending,” Eatman said.
“I’ve had wonderful feedback from our performances last week. The audience was captivated, and Friday was sold out. Word of mouth is pulling them in.”
When: 7:30 tonight through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Bottle Works Ethnic Arts Center, 411 Third Ave. in the Cambria City section of Johnstown.
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