This surreal study of the often bizarre byways that love between men and women take was written by the author of "Doubt," who attended the Thomas Moore Prep School, a private school with a Catholic orientation, in Harrisville, N.H., which afforded him a few humane teachers. It was their kindness, actually, that was among the reasons he wrote ''Doubt,'' in which a nun suspects a priest of being a bit too interested in a young boy. The strength of the play is how skillfully Shanley exposes the two sides to every suspicion.
''It was homosexual teachers for the most part who saved me,'' Shanley said. ''The head of discipline at Thomas Moore was gay, and he was my friend and protector. Did he have his reasons for being interested in me? Everybody has their reasons. Passion fuels many things, and it's used in many ways. Many of these people never cross the line.''
Shanley's relative, unfortunately, was not as lucky. ''A child in my family was molested by a priest,'' he said. ''The parents went first to the local level, then up the chain of command to a highly placed church official, who took them by the hands and said: 'I'm so sorry this happened to you. I will take care of it.' And then he promoted him. They were so shocked that they left the church for 10 years. But they missed it, so they returned to a parish where the monsignor gave a sermon saying that with these church scandals it was the parents, not the clergy, who were responsible. They had to leave the church again.