Last century. The lovelorn, the malformed and the sick flock to a gifted rogue billed The Fantastic Francis Hardy: Faith Healer. Frank drifts the back roads of Britain with his wife and manager, hoping to find their way home. He might be just another shyster, more showman than shaman. But the trouble is, sometimes Fantastic Francis actually does bring the healing touch.
Faith Healer is made up of four monologues performed by three characters: Francis Hardy (Colin Friels), the titular healer, his wife Grace (Alison Whyte) and his manager Teddy (Pip Miller). Each share their perspective on their itinerate lives together. As the stories unravel a web of half-truths and personal mythologies is revealed.
Friels has recently appeared at Belvoir in Mortido and Death of a Salesman, and was nominated for Helpmann Awards for both performances. He’s previously won a Helpmann, a Logie and two AFIs.
Whyte is one of Australia’s most accomplished actors across theatre, film and television. Recently she has appeared in many television programs including: The Kettering Incident, Glitch, The Doctor Blake Mysteries and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. In January she will appear in Colm Tóibín’s one-woman play, Testament of Mary at Sydney Theatre Company.
As well as countless Australian theatre credits, Miller spent several years with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre. His film credits include Sliding Doors and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
Judy Davis will direct Faith Healer in her Belvoir directorial debut. Previously she has directed Victory, The School for Scandal and Barrymore for Sydney Theatre Company.
‘To quote Brian Friel himself, ‘memory is about what has happened in the past. It’s also about what might have happened but never did,’’ says Davis. ‘Faith Healer grapples with this notion of truth and falsity, and presents us with the gift of theatre in its essence – exceptional language that comes alive through carefully crafted characters.’
First performed in 1979, Faith Healer is a masterpiece by one of the greatest playwrights of the last 50 years, Brian Friel. The acclaimed Irish playwright’s works have won the Tony, the Olivier and the Critic’s Circle Awards for Best Play. His plays include: Philadelphia, Here I Come!, Translations, and Dancing at Lughnasa. He has written short stories, screenplays, film, TV and Radio adaptations of his plays and several pieces of non-fiction on the role of theatre and the artist.
Director: Judy Davis Featuring: Colin Friels, Pip Miller, Alison Whyte Set Designer: Brian Thomson Costume Designer: Tess Schofield Lighting Designer: Verity Hampson Composer & Sound Designer: Paul Charlier Associate Lighting Designer: Daniel Barber Stage Manager: Luke McGettigan Assistant Stage Manager: Roxzan Bowes Directorial Secondment: Duncan Ragg Production: Emma Vine
Upstairs – Belvoir St Theatre, 25 Belvoir Street, Surry Hills
Season: 26 October – 27 November 2016
Information and Bookings: www.belvoir.com.au
Image: Colin Friels – photo by Brett Boardman