Review: FAITH HEALER at Barrington Stage Company

An Exceptional, Distinctive, and Powerful Work of Art

By: Aug. 07, 2023
Review: FAITH HEALER at Barrington Stage Company
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Founding Artistic Director Julianne Boyd directs a new production of FAITH HEALER by the great Irish playwright, Brian Friel.  The production stars BSC Associate Artists Christopher Innvar as Frank Hardy, Mark H. Dold as Teddy, and Gretchen Egolf as Grace.

Review: FAITH HEALER at Barrington Stage Company
Christopher Innvar
Photo by Daniel Rader

FAITH HEALER originally premiered in 1979 at Boston’s Colonial Theatre. It has since come to be regarded as a modern classic, with many productions around the world including on Broadway, in London and Dublin. Reviewing the 2016 Broadway revival, Ben Brantley, The New York Times, wrote, “In a way, it’s about how every one of us is an artist by default, reinventing the world each time we remember something.”

In his brilliant masterpiece, Brian Friel tells the story of the mysterious and charismatic Frank Hardy as he travels as a faith healer across the Welsh and Scottish countryside. A three-person play in four monologues, Frank (Innvar), his wife Grace (Egolf) and his manager Teddy (Dold) recount the same events from different perspectives. Frank bookends the show questioning the validity of his gift to heal people with the power of faith as Grace and Teddy reflect on his successes, inconsistencies, and Frank’s character itself.  A powerful testament to relational entanglement, Brian Friel’s masterpiece FAITH HEALER is an exploration of the deeply subjective nature of personal reality and how that perception affects the realities of others. 

“Even though Julie is enjoying her retirement, we could not help but ask if she wanted to return to direct a play of her choice,” commented BSC’s current Artistic Director, Alan Paul. “So, we’re thrilled to present a Brian Friel play for the first time for BSC audiences. Friel’s brilliant and elegiac language with these three superb actors in Julie’s production will surely be a highlight of the 2023 season.”  Paul’s words ring true, and FAITH HEALER proves to be an exceptionally distinctive and powerful work of art.

Review: FAITH HEALER at Barrington Stage Company
 Gretchen Egolf
Photo by Daniel Rader

Celtic culture in Ireland has been maintained for more than 2,000 years. None of the Celt's customs, beliefs or history was written down for hundreds, even thousands of years. Most of the information was passed on through poems, songs, and incredible stories.  In FAITH HEALER, Friel harnesses the power of story telling common to both that culture and contemporary theater to weave a tightly woven tapestry with such depth, richness, and color it could easily be compared to the work of the great impressionist painters.  Under Boyd’s direction, Innvar, Dold, and Egolf show themselves to be consummate professionals.  Each using similar but distinct techniques and tools to paint their own unique vision of the same experience.

Julianne Boyd says, “I am thrilled to be directing FAITH HEALER, Brian Friel’s hauntingly beautiful play that has been on my short list for years – and I am excited to be reunited with three tremendously talented actors and BSC Associate Artists, Christopher Innvar, Mark Dold and Gretchen Egolf.”

Review: FAITH HEALER at Barrington Stage Company
Mark H. Dold
Photo by Daniel Rader

The production features a simple but effective set design by Luciana Stecconi; costume design by Jennifer Caprio; lighting design by David Lander, and sound design by Fabian Obispo. Renee Lutz is Production Stage Manager. BSC casting is by McCorkle Casting (Pat McCorkle, CSA; Rebecca Weiss, CSA).

Berkshire area devotees of theatre and performing arts should most certainly plan to see FAITH HEALER on the St. Germain Stage at the Blatt Center for Performing Arts (36 Linden Street) where it continues through August 27.


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