09doubt Gilbert Theater continues its season with “Doubt,” which will run Feb. 1-17. The play is by John Patrick Shanley. Gilbert Theater Artistic Director Matthew Overturf will direct it.

“This play is set in 1964, and the playwright, John Patrick Shanley, writes in the prologue that when he wrote it, he thought about this time and it was as if the world was going through a giant puberty,” said Overturf. “There was so much change occurring during this time, such as The Civil Rights Act being passed. And John F. Kennedy had just been assassinated the year before.”

Overturf noted that the Catholic Church had just gone through a significant change. The Vatican II Council was trying to become more open and welcoming and look a bit more like the communities it served, he explained. Everything was shifting and changing during this time.

The drama involves Sister Aloysius, a Bronx Catholic school principal, who takes matters into her own hands when she suspects the parish priest, Father Flynn, of improper relations with one of the male students.

As Aloysius and the Father face off, it brings out the worst in both of them and reveals weaknesses, humanity and doubt in so many things. The production deals with the struggle of faith and doubt, right and wrong, and the gray area in between.

“The male student happens to be the first African-American student in the school because the school had just become desegregated,” said Overturf. “Basically, the play becomes about Sister Aloysius’ crusade against Father Flynn. She brings on Sister James, a fairly young nun, to kind of help in this because (Sister James) is the teacher of the student.”

The play is called “Doubt” for a reason. “There are a lot of circumstantial things and a lot of ideas that Sister Aloysius has that may not necessarily be founded in facts or truths, but she has her suspicions,” said Overturf. “And those, to her, are just as important as any facts.”

Overturf continued, “We have a phenomenal cast. It is an important play for me because I fell in love with it in college and always wanted to direct it. It is a hard-hitting play.

“What I love about it is that it is guaranteed to cause you to leave and talk about it. People will be discussing it and what they believe the outcome is because it is a wonderful show.”

For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit www.gilberttheater.com or call 910-678-7186.

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