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Guthrie Director Joe Dowling Discusses FAITH HEALER In American Theatre Magazine's 'Front And Center'


As Guthrie Director Joe Dowling nears the end of his run in the title role of Brian Friel's Faith Healer (playing through Sunday, December 6, at the Guthrie Theater) he spoke with American Theatre magazine's Eliza Bent for the December 2009 "Front & Center" spotlight. Known through the United States and Ireland as a preeminent director and scholar of Brian Friel's work, the Guthrie production marked his American acting debut, joining longtime Guthrie actors Sally Wingert and Raye Birk in this intimate portrait of three adults, told through a series of four emotionally stirring monologues.

Faith Healer concludes its Guthrie run this Sunday, December 6.

For complete production information, visit

Front & Center: You've Gotta Have Faith
by Eliza Bent
American Theatre (December 2009)

MINNEAPOLIS - "It's more of an homage than a return to acting," says artistic director Joe Dowling of his current stint in Brian Friel's Faith Healer, running through Dec. 6 at the Guthrie Theater. The Irish playwright, who turned 80 earlier this year, has been feted throughout the world for his work, and taking on the title character in Faith Healer is Dowling's way of paying respect. "I have a long history with the play," says the Irish ex-pat, who directed Faith Healer in 1980 at Dublin's Abbey Theatre and then again in 1990 at Connecticut's Long Wharf Theatre, both times with Donal McCann as Frank Hardy. "The thought of reshaping the play with another actor was a real barrier to me, and then it occurred to me that I could just drive myself crazy by doing it," Dowling chuckles.

Dowling admits that he has been less haunted by McCann's take on the role than he thought he would be - which he believes is a testament to the strength of Friel's writing. "He's one of the greatest theatrical poets of our time," Dowling posits. "In Faith Healer he gets right to the heart of what it is to be a creative artist and has captured the very essence of uncertainty that is a the root of theatre." For Dowling it's been an interesting homecoming. "Some nights the muse strikes you. Then there are other nights ...." he trails off. Though he enjoys performing, Dowling doubts he'll be doing it again any time soon: "It's just to hard to run the theatre and perform - this is a special one-time deal!"

View the December 2009 spotlight at:


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