Niki Richardson as Sister Aloysius in John Patrick Shanley's DOUBT.
February 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17 2018 @ 8:00 PM. Doors open 7:30. The Shadowbox Theatre (103B-1501 Howard Ave, corner of Howard and Shepard). Tickets $20 at postproductionswindsor.ca or at the door.
Who are you, how did you get into theatre, and where might audiences have seen you before? My name is Niki Richardson. I started doing improv and murder mystery dinner theatre in the '90s while a stay-at-home mom. That led to 10 straight musical productions with Theatre Alive (1997-2006) and 6 seasons with Theatre Windsor at the Market Square on Ottawa (2007-2012). I also won a WODL award for Best Actress in 2011 for portraying Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Most recently I was seen as Barbara in Theatre Ensemble's August; Osage County (2015), Mother in Ghostlight Players' award winning Voices of Vimy (2016), and Sonia in Korda's Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (2017).
What can you tell us about Sister Aloysius? Sister Aloysius Beauvier is the principal of a religious school in the Bronx in 1964. She is a straightforward, no-nonsense and determined woman. Once married, she lost her husband in World War II prior to taking her vows and becoming a nun. She is comfortable in her position and serious regarding her responsibilities. During the course of the play, she becomes compelled to confront a situation with nothing but her own certainty to draw upon, only to realize afterwards that perhaps she was not so certain after all.
Why did you want to play Sister Aloysius? A role like Sister Aloysius is a serious personal challenge. Being any part of a Pulitzer Prize/Tony Award winning piece is a fantastic chance to grow as an artist -- and taking on such a part with a director and cast that I do not know is a wonderful opportunity. The people in a cast and crew always leave their unique thumbprints on my process, providing new voices and ideas to collect for use in future productions. New collaborators keep things fresh and exciting. Technically, this character has the majority of the dialogue, but the least amount of movement. The costume is one of the most restrictive I have experienced and the specific nuances of her accent are new to me.
How is Sister Aloysious important to the plot and theme of DOUBT? The character of Sister Aloysius IS the title. She is Doubt. Mr. Shanley leads you to believe it is only Sister James, or even the faithful reader/audience member who represents Doubt. It is not realized until her last line that it is also Sister Aloysius. The deception is masterful. She is presented as certain and unwavering for nearly the entire play. Her doubt may ultimately be of a different nature than that of Sister James, but when it emerges it leaves the audience breathless -- with no assistance from the author to process or categorize it.
What do you hope audiences get from seeing DOUBT -- both at The Shadowbox while they're watching, and when they think about it afterwards? I hope that our audiences can get lost in the story, lost in the intimate nature of the set and the space. I hope they formulate opinions and then want to change their minds again and again with each passing scene. When it's over, I want long discussions, ending with people agreeing to disagree -- even with themselves maybe.