A group of actors that pool their interests together in order to put on a show that leaves the audience wondering: that is what Asylum Theatre is and the group’s production of “Doubt” will “bring the audience to a point where they really think about these characters” said Deborah Mayo, director of undergraduate studies for the theatre department and a co-director for the production.
Asylum Theatre was started over a decade ago and was made up of local educators from Stony Brook, Hofstra and Suffolk.
“We merely wanted to pool our interests together,” Mayo said. “I’d say our main goal is just to encourage more live theatre because it truly is an experience that anyone can enjoy.”
“Doubt” is the newest production to be brought to Staller by the Asylum Theatre and takes place in the 60s. Mayo promises that when audiences arrive, they will be able to tell where and when they are.
“This all takes place during a controversial time,” said Mayo. “You have the civil rights movement going on during this time and it’s also before the ecumenical council, so a lot of issues are going on.”
The story focuses on the controversy of sexual misconduct in a school: a Bronx school principal suspects impure relations between a pastor and a male student from the school. But the play is not just about sexual misconduct. The play is also about conviction and perception from not just the characters’ point of views, but that of the audience as well. The story is focused on the development of the characters and how they react and change to situations.
“It’s not just a melo-drama,” Mayo said. “It’s about the human nature of challenge and the beauty of the playwright just leaves you wondering.
The cast is made up of four actors and includes Steven Lantz-Gefroh as Father Brendan Flynn; Valeri Lantz-Gefroh as Sister Aloysius Beauvier; Nancee Moes as Sister James and Oya Bangura as Mrs. Muller.
“We haven’t the means for a large cast production but this piece is so well written and provocative it just makes the feeling stronger, especially for the actors,” said Mayo. “What is great about the small cast is that it helps the audience focus on taking just four journeys from the heart of these characters and walking in their shoes.”
Mayo hopes that once audiences see this performance, they will leave wanting to see another live performance.
“I hope anyone will enjoy and will walk out delighted but more so intrigued,” said Mayo. “These are very real and sensitive topics at hand that are psychologically bold and scary so we want the audience to really react to what is going on.”
“Doubt” is scheduled for eight performances from Sept. 18-21 and 25-28, Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Mayo said “It’s a privilege to have a place to do this work and have audiences come and enjoy it just as much as the performers.”