from the Footlights


January 2008                                                          “Life shouldn’t be all work and no plays.”



January 21 – Doubt: A Parable by John Patrick Shanley

“Doubt has gotten a bad reputation. People who are utterly certain are vulnerable to a brand of foolishness that people who maintain a level of doubt are not.” — John Patrick Shanley

On Monday, January 21, we begin 2008 with our Footlights dinner-discussion of Doubt: A Parable by John Patrick Shanley, winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play. The New York Times calls it, “An inspired study in moral uncertainty with the compellingly certain structure of an old-fashioned detective drama.” According to Variety’s review “All the elements come invigoratingly together like clockwork . . . a gripping story of suspicion cast on a priest’s behavior that is less about scandal than about fascinatingly nuanced questions of moral certainty.”

In Doubt, a nun in a Bronx Catholic school in 1964 suspects a popular priest of inappropriate behavior with a student. Armed with nothing more than a resolute belief in her suspicion and a few circumstantial details, she instigates a relentless campaign to remove the priest, enlisting the help of a subordinate nun and the child’s tormented mother. The simple, yet ever-shifting plot leaves all four characters and the audience wondering whether they were justified in their thoughts, motives and actions.

Our speakers are John Going, Director of Olney Theatre’s upcoming production of Doubt, and Rev. John P. Langan, S.J., the Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Professor of Catholic Social Thought at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University. Robin Larkin will moderate.

We meet at Alfio’s, in the Willoughby Apartments, 4515 Willard Ave., Chevy Chase, MD, two blocks from the Friendship Heights Metro. Street parking is limited because of construction projects in the area, but valet parking is free at the restaurant. Dinner is $12 (includes tip) with several choices of entrées, as well as salad, bread, ice cream & coffee.

Come early if you can but please arrive by 6:15 p.m. to allow sufficient time to get all the entrée orders in to the waiter. The discussion begins at 7:30 p.m. You may come just for the discussion, if you wish.

Contact Mark Gruenberg to reserve for dinner, 202-898-4825 or [email protected]. If you later find you must cancel your dinner reservation, please let Mark know by noon on Monday, January 21 so we can give an accurate count of dinner reservations to the restaurant.

Copies of the play are available at the library, at Backstage Books (202-544-5744), or other bookstores.

Doubt at Olney Theatre Center

Footlights will see Doubt at the Olney Theatre Center on Saturday, February 16 at 2 p.m. with Talk Back discussion to follow. Tickets are $36. Send your check, by February 1, 2008 payable to Footlights, to Robin Larkin, 5800 Nicholson Lane, #L07, Rockville, MD 20852. For further information, contact Robin: (240-669-6300) or [email protected].

Footlights Discussion February 26

Footlights will meet February 26 at Alfio's to discuss The Hostage by Brendan Behan. First written in Irish by Brendan Behan as An Giall and performed in Dublin in 1957, the play was translated into English by its author and premiered in London in 1958. The plot of the play revolves around the IRA’s kidnapping of a British soldier in exchange for the release of an imprisoned IRA volunteer. The play deals with the human cost of war. Footlights plans to attend the Keegan Theatre production of The Hostage early in March.

Several copies of The Hostage will be available at our January meeting. The play is only published as part of the collection of Behan’s plays; you may order your copy of Behan’s plays from Backstage Books (202-544-5744) or any other bookstore.

The Skin of Our Teeth at Rorschach Theatre

Footlights will see Thornton Wilder's funny, serious, fantastical The Skin of Our Teeth on Friday, March 7. Rorschach Theatre, one of the newer, smaller, cutting-edge theaters in the area will be doing it in the District at a site not yet determined. We will have that information in the next Footlights newsletter. There will be a discussion with the cast after the show. Tickets are $15. For tickets, contact Robin Larkin by phone (240-669-6300) or email ([email protected]).

The director of Rorschach Theatre’s production of The Skin of Our Teeth is Rahaleh Nassari, who received a rave review in The Washington Post for her production of Breath Boom at Studio. Both she and Scott McCormick (one of the play’s leads and a winner of a Helen Hayes award) spoke to Footlights in December, before rehearsals had begun. Ms. Nassari said several times she was interested in hearing our reactions on reading the play because she wanted to add to the ideas in this period when the play was rolling around in her head. She seemed particularly pleased when after our dinner-discussion a Footlights member shared his memories with her of the star-studded, original Broadway production.



           January 21 (Monday) – Please arrive by 6:15 p.m. for dinner discussion of John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt: A Parable at Alfio’s, in the Willoughby Apartments, 4515 Willard Ave., Chevy Chase, MD.


           February 16 (Saturday) at 2 p.m. – Performance of Doubt at Olney Theatre Center with Talk Back discussion. Tickets are $36. Send your check, by February 1, payable to Footlights, to Robin Larkin, 5800 Nicholson Lane, #L07, Rockville, MD 20852. Contact Robin for further information – 240-669-6300 or [email protected].


           February 26 (Tuesday) – Please arrive by 6:15 p.m. for dinner discussion of Brendan Behan’s The Hostage at Alfio’s, in the Willoughby Apartments, 4515 Willard Ave., Chevy Chase, MD.


           March 7 (Friday) – Performance of The Skin of Our Teeth at Rorschach Theatre. Site to be determined. Tickets are $15; includes postshow discussion. Contact Robin for further information: 240-669-6300 or [email protected].

Dinner-discussion reservations: Reserve with Mark Gruenberg, 202-898-4825 or [email protected].

Theater tickets: Robin Larkin, 240-669-6300 or [email protected]. Make check payable to Footlights. Send to Robin Larkin at her new address: 5800 Nicholson Lane, Apt. L07, Rockville, MD 20852.