Doubt is a 2004 play by John Patrick Shanley. Set in the Bronx in a Catholic school during 1964, it concerns themes of sexual abuse by priests, and a nun who tries to investigate the actions of a priest, but cannot conclusively prove he is guilty of any wrongdoing. It opened at the Manhattan Theatre Club on November 23, 2004, and transferred to Broadway in April 2005.
Doubt and its off-Broadway and Broadway performances have garnered numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. After reaching Broadway, it was nominated for eight 2005 Tony Awards; remarkably, all four original cast members received nominations. Doubt won four Tony Awards, including Best Play, and awards for actors Cherry Jones and Adriane Lenox. Doubt made its Asian debut in Singapore in March 2006.
"What do you do when you're not sure?" Father Flynn asks the audience in the opening line of this play, setting the stage for a story of suspicion and moral certainty. His colleague, Sister Aloysius, is an old-school nun who insists that her students not be coddled: "Every easy choice today will have its consequence tomorrow. Mark my words." Flynn, following the Second Vatican Council's directive, believes the clergy should be more accessible to the parish and be thought of "as members of their family."
These two schools of thought come into direct conflict when Aloysius suspects Flynn of "interfering" with Donald Muller, the school's first black student. Sister James, an inexperienced but enthusiastic young nun who has been an indirect witness to the dealings between Flynn and Muller, is subsequently consulted by Aloysius. When James reluctantly reports smelling alcohol on Donald's breath after a visit with Flynn, she sets the play's central conflict into motion. The fourth character, Mrs. Muller (Donald's mother) provides yet another perspective when she's brought in to discuss the situation with Aloysius. In a verbal Battle of the Titans, Aloysius confronts Flynn with her suspicions, demanding his confession and resignation. He refuses, denying any wrong-doing. When Aloysius claims to have evidence, he appears to crumple and she exits, seemingly victorious. In the final scene, we learn that Father Flynn has been transferred to another parish and received a promotion.