Senior production Doubt will stimulate conversation

Sam DeGroot- Guest Writer

The Dordt College Theatre Department invites the Dordt community to come enjoy Nathan Sparks’ Senior Production, Doubt. They have no doubt it will be an experience you will remember.

The production will open Feb. 27 and run through March 1 in the New World Theatre.

Doubt a play by John Patrick Shanley, will offer much to stimulate audiences. Although not flashy or sensational, director Nathan Sparks said it avoids the dangers that often plague sensationalized theater; that is, it is believable.

He chose to produce Doubt for his senior production for this reason.

“I chose Doubt because, of all the plays I read, this was the one that felt the most real, As in, it didn’t feel like I was reading something theatrical,” Sparks said. “The dialogue, characters and plot all felt real, with all of these characters having something important to say about the world we live in.”

Sparks is directing the play as part of his theater arts: acting and directing major. Theatre arts majors have the opportunity to select a project to take on as the culmination of their work in theater. Although he has directed before as part of the theater arts major, Sparks felt compelled to direct again for his senior project after reading Doubt.

“I feel my vision of the show can really do justice to the ideas and themes presented in the play,” he said.

Doubt follows the controversy surrounding a progressive new priest. The staunch older nun who runs the local parish school thinks he may have done something very inappropriate, although he denies it.

Doubt deals with themes of doubt, assumption and the tension between progressive and traditional ideas. Sparks thinks the show explores these topics in a way that will appeal to Dordt students.

“What is great is that it tackles these ideas in a way that doesn’t feel preachy, which I feel Dordt students already have to deal with a lot of,” he said.

He said it is a play that connects with students where they are and treats them like the thoughtful adults they are.

“Dordt students don’t want to be talked down to; they want to be challenged and to grow, which I feel the play does,” Sparks said.

Taylor Leach, the stage manager for the show, also thinks the show will offer Dordt an opportunity for growth.

Doubt can be an opportunity for the campus to grow together both as a community and as believers in Christ,” she said.

Theater Professor Teresa Ter Haar thinks the show offers a great opportunity for the Dordt community.

“This show is a good example of our desire to connect our productions to the life of this community in more explicit ways,” she said.

She said plans are to surround the production with discussion and to “interrogate the production more as a campus.” Ter Haar hopes these efforts will equip the community to view the show.

“We want everyone to go to the theater and feel that they have the tools to engage with it,” Ter Haar said.

Sparks said audiences should be prepared to struggle through the themes that the characters have to deal with right alongside the actors. While it may be tempting to side with one character or another, it is more difficult in this show.

“There aren’t any clear-cut good or bad guys; these are real characters with both good and bad parts that show themselves,” Sparks said.

Leach suggested that audiences be sure to come with a responsive mindset.

“They can prepare for viewing Doubt by planning on coming with open mind and heart,” she said.

Sparks is excited for the opportunities the play offers for stimulating conversation and discussion on campus. He cordially invites the entire campus community to attend the show. He hopes to see you there.

For more information on the show or ways to get involved, please contact Nathan Sparks (nthnsprks@dordt.edu) or Teresa Ter Haar (teresa.terhaar@dordt.edu).

Who:
Performance – Anyone looking for a well-produced, challenging show
What:
Production of Doubt,
Nathan Sparks’ Senior Production, under his direction
Where:
New World Theatre, Dordt College
When:
Performance – Feb. 28 – March 1

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