I had a most enjoyable evening out at the theater last night. All alone, but still enjoyable. I saw Doubt, A Parable at the Lamb Productions Theater (sounds like it should be a Christian theater or something, but it isn't). They bill themselves as the only professional theater company in the region, but I'm not exactly sure what that means. I know that I've never seen notices for auditions for any of their productions. They have a school -- maybe you have to get involved with their school to get noticed by them and put in productions. Whatever.
But it was an excellent show. An excellent play and and excellent production. Their theater is in an old elementary school building and is quite small, which surprised me. But for this production, it worked really well to be so intimately close to the actors.
The crux of the show is the suspicions that this nun, who principals a school, has about the local priest having an inappropriate relationship with a boy in the school. It's a fascinating play, because you vacillate back and forth through the whole thing about whether she's right or not -- and even about whether you want her to be right or not.
But the most thought-provoking part of it for me was the character of the nun, Sister Aloysius. She's tough, hard, legalistic, and fiercely protective of these kids, even to the point of accepting excommunication if that's what it takes. At least, you think that some of the time -- some of the time, you wonder if she just doesn't have some kind of axe to grind with this guy, or if she's become too suspicious and cynical and lost any sense of love and compassion . . . or if that kind of cynicism and coldness is a "necessary evil" in a sinful world.
She says a couple times in the play something to the effect that, one has to turn away from God when one turns to face evil. Hmmm. The first time she says it, it's almost a side-note, just said in passing. The second time has much more significance.
I feel like I want to see the play over again -- a few more times -- to decide what I really think of it. Or more specifically, what I really think of her. I know the big "mystery" of the play is whether the priest has sinned or not. But I'm more concerned with whether Sister Aloysius has sinned or not. If she has genuinely turned away from God -- even temporarily -- and if that was really as necessary as she said. And if I am more like her than I want to admit, Pharisee that I am.
I hope not. She can't be right that facing evil requires turning away from God. Surely, the only way to rightly deal with evil is to see it through God's eyes. How to accomplish that -- that's the big question.