Scott Ford on "Doubt, a Parable"

ford-smallerLyric Arts had the opportunity to ask some questions of director, Scott Ford, for the first show in our 2009-2010 season, "Doubt, A Parable." Check out what he had to say about the production. LA: Tell us a little bit about why this particular script interested you?

SF: It is ridiculously well written. It won a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award because John Patrick Shanley’s script is brilliant. All four characters are complex, interesting people who are, at times, stunned by information revealed by others; and they respond by delivering stunning blows of their own. It makes for great dramatic conflict because the audience feels empathy for characters that are at odds with one another.

LA: For those that are unfamiliar with "Doubt, A Parable" can you tell us about the show?

SF: It is set in a Catholic school in the mid-1960s and focuses on an accusation of impropriety made by a nun, the school principal, against a new priest in the parish. Charges fly, allegiances shift, and motives evolve. The plot is a suspenseful puzzle as the audience attempts to figure out where the truth lies.

LA: This show is a huge artistic step for a community theater to take on, why should people come out and see the show?

SF: This is a bold choice for Lyric Arts and they are to be applauded for producing such an engaging and thought-provoking play. Not everyone will interpret it the same way. It is a play that gives credit to the intelligence of the audience. Come see it with your friends and I guarantee that you will have plenty to discuss with them afterwards.

LA: "Doubt" was a recent blockbuster hit, for those that have seen the movie why should they come and see the stage version?

SF: The movie was based on the play. The original script is more compact and direct than the film script which is expanded to include many minor characters. Movie scripts demand a cinematic visual component, where the live theatre experience places greater emphasis on the tension of the dialogue and the immediacy of the action.

LA: Many people think that "Doubt" just centers on an abuse scandal in a church. Is that true? If not, what is the show about?

SF: The question of an abuse scandal is merely the backdrop for this play. The play in no way makes a political point about recent issues within the church. Instead this is a play about how people in conflict deal with each other. It is about the benefits and pitfalls of not questioning our assumptions about other people. It is about why we believe what we believe. It is about individuals, not the institution.

LA: Being that you have directed at Lyric Arts in the past, how has "Doubt, A Parable" been a different experience for you?

SF: The biggest difference has been how the tone of the script has shaped the rehearsals. We have had the most exciting and interesting conversations about the motives and desires of these characters.

LA: Has this show challenged you? If so, in what ways different from other show you have directed?

SF: The challenge in directing the play is to never dictate how the audience should feel about the characters or their actions – to keep valid a variety of possible interpretations. Most plays make clear to the audience what they ought to believe. In this play they are encouraged to entertain the possibility that what they believed a few scenes prior should be viewed in a new light. The story encourages the practice of doubt.

LA: Comment on the characters and cast members?

SF: There are traits to admire and criticize in all four characters. The roles really allow the actors to show off their range. These compelling characters are being brought to life by a versatile, experienced and talented cast.

LA: "Doubt, a Parable" will be performing September 11-27, 2009 on the Main Street Stage.