note: entire contents copyright 2008 by Beverly Creasey
I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Brian Friel fan (I consider his TRANSLATIONS a life-changing play) and I adored FAITH HEALER for its gorgeous language from the moment I saw the James Mason-Ed Flanders production almost thirty years ago. Now I adore it even more for the Publick Theatre’s breathtaking presentation at the Boston Center for the Arts (through Nov. 22nd).
Friel dissects memory, loyalty and faith in four luminous monologues which knit together as if the three characters were interacting with each other at the same time. They’re not—and yet they are, when we become a part of the play, touched and moved and included by the on-stage characters. Director Nora Hussey and company work up a frightful suspense, as we learn about the terrible destiny of a charismatic healer, his wife and his “theatrical” manager, trekking through the wilds of Scotland, Wales and Ireland.
See FAITH HEALER for Friel’s spellbinding story and for the best performances I’ve seen this year. Diego Arciniegas plumbs the depths of doubt and despair as the healer who cannot allow himself to let go anywhere but “on stage.” Gabriel Kuttner is hilariously sweet and devilishly vulnerable as the devoted companion to man and beast--- and Susanne Nitter manages to break our hearts as she tries to “control” a life spiraling into depression. Ken Loewit’s intensity of light and shadow and Dahlia Al-Habieli’s looming advertisement fill the small black box theater with an immediacy which shakes the listener to the core. Bravo.