The production of Irish playwright Brian Friel’s defining masterpiece, Faith Healer, will finish its successful run with two and a half weeks at the Space Theatre.
State Theatre Company is excited to bring this revered production to South Australia and believe it to be one of the greatest tellings of Friel’s compelling story to date.
“I got a phone call from Paul Blackwell, who is one of our greatest South Australian actors,” said State Theatre Company’s Artistic Director, Geordie Brookman. “He had recently been brought on to take up a role in Faith Healer, which had been a huge smash at Belvoir St Theatre in Sydney.
“He [Blackwell] said ‘I think this show is really special, and I think this is a show that Adelaide needs to see.’”
Davis, whose partner Colin Friels plays the enigmatic faith healer, supported by Alison Whyte and Paul Blackwell as the other two characters in the play, helms the project.
“When I saw it, it was just one of those pure, magic nights in the theatre,” said Brookman. “It was gorgeous, direct, unadorned storytelling.
“Friel is one of the 20th century’s greatest storytellers and it is like watching a team of theatrical Olympians at work. The cast and the creative team are the best of the best. Seeing them go to work on an elite piece of writing was magic.”
The script tells the intriguing story of Francis Hardy, a showman who performs miracle healing, in four monologues from Hardy, his wife/mistress Grace, and his manager Teddy.
“It was what people invented the word ‘spell-binding’ for,” said Brookman. “You just sit there not wanting to take a breath because of the level of performance, and the care in the direction, and the strength of the sound – it is one of those moments where all of the elements are working at their peak. That is actually pretty rare in theatre.”
Previously, Faith Healer has been produced around the world, seeing the likes of Helen Mirren and Ralph Fiennes bringing Friel’s characters to life on Broadway.
State Theatre Company’s decision to bring the production to South Australia was made due to the calibre of acting showcased in the cast and the themes of Friel’s script.
“It is a really moving story that looks at truth, faith, love and how those things intersect,” said Brookman. “We all see those things slightly differently, because there are tiny little moments of choice that may seem insignificant, but become significant later on.
“The thing the company has been focused on for the last five or so years is the act of storytelling, and what that does for human beings and how it connects us and allows us to examine the world anew – this is one of those places that does it in a distilled form.”
Colin, Alison and Judy all have a history with State Theatre Company and were passionate about continuing Faith Healer’s run after its successful period at South Bank Theatre in Melbourne.
“Judy doesn’t direct very often. That in itself in an event,” said Brookman.
Faith Healer opens at the Space Theatre on September 26 and finishes on October 13. Tickets can be purchased here.