Faith Healer

Anonymous Contributor
April / May 2006

Brian Friel’s latest play Faith Healer opened on February 7 at the Gate Theatre in Dublin. The play revolves around a faith healer named Frank Hardy who has toured with his manager (Teddy) and wife (Grace) around the rural villages of Wales and Scotland but is now returning home to Ballybeg, the fictional Donegal village that features in several of Friel’s plays. The play follows the trio’s travels and return home through a series of monologues, two from Frank and one each from Grace and Teddy. The play continues in Dublin until the end of March but will be coming to New York for a 15-week run in May at the Booth Theater. Directed by Jonathan Kent, Faith Healer boasts an outstanding cast of Ralph Fiennes, Cherry Jones (who won a Tony for John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt, and who will replace Ingrid Craigie from the Irish production) and Ian McDiarmid. This will not be the first time the play has come to New York. In April 1979 the play had a rather unsuccessful run of only 20 performances at Broadway’s Longacre Theater. The Irish Times has called it “Absorbing fiction . . . brilliant and profound . . . an infinitely fine play.” Fiennes, a Tony Award winner for Hamlet and double Oscar nominee for Schindler’s List and The English Patient, brings both serious talent and box office draw to the production, which should ensure that it lays the ghost of the play’s last visit to the Big Apple to rest. ♦

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