Saturday, November 28, 2009

Faith Healer at the Guthrie

Saw Faith Healer at the Guthrie last week. Not the most entertaining play I've ever seen, but one of the most thought-provoking. It's haunted me ever since.

I expected it to be a play about hypocrisy and religious fervor gone awry. Instead, it was the story of a trio of dysfunctional people striving to survive, baffled by the occasional inexplicable mysticism that sometimes descended on their "Faith Healer" meetings, and struggling to love each other without losing their own lives. Each of the three main characters--the Faith Healer, Frank Hardy, his wife Grace, and his manager Teddy--gives a monologue that relates his or her own version of the same story, giving us pieces of the whole that come together only at the end as we understand their shared tragedy. Joe Dowling himself plays Frank Hardy in an impressive, heart-rending performance of this script by Irish playwright Brian Friel.

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