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  Faith Healer at The Den Theatre

Faith Healer

The Den Theatre
1329-1333 N. Milwaukee Chicago

FAITH HEALER is a dramatic, mysterious and humorous work focusing on the life and times of Frank Hardy (Si Osborne), an itinerant Irish Healer. Uniquely structured, the play is presented in four monologues. The first belongs to Frank, grappling with the mystery of his gift of faith healing. Next is Grace (Lia D. Mortensen), Frank's patient but suffering wife, who knows too well the special magnificence of her husband. Frank's promoter and set-up man, a Cockney named Teddy (Brad Armacost), speaks third. His show business spin on events is both touching and comical. Frank's epilogue brings the play to a startling conclusion. In FAITH HEALER, Friel shows us the reality of grace, the unfolding of mystery and the healing powers of faith.

Thru - Feb 3, 2013

Price: $28

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 773-697-3830

Running Time: 2hrs, 35mins; one intermission

  Faith Healer Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"..."Faith Healer,' which was first produced in 1979, is a series of separate monologues. We hear from Frank (Osborne), then the same sad events are retold by his wife Grace (Mortensen), and then again by Teddy (Armacost) the jocular Cockney who serves as a kind of impresario, making sure that the punters are distracted with mystery so that they buy Frank's sleight of hand, if that's what he does. And then Frank returns, alone, wrapping things up in the strangest way. None of the three characters is a reliable narrator, as they constantly contradict one another's version of events. And, at the same time, they add a little more to the cloudy picture of three lives, now reduced to the vagaries of memory and the manipulation of personal construction, that land somewhere between faith and chicanery."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...One indication of the power of the writing and acting here is the way characters never seen on stage burst to life. Consider Osborne’s brilliant rendering of his brief, riveting and only conversation with Grace’s mother, or Mortensen’s heartbreaking encounter with her elderly father, or Armacost’s memory of a performing whippet, and the woman who communicated with pigeons. And then there is the explanation of his tormented love for both Francis and Grace, and his place in the triangulated relationship. Fantastic. Absolutely fantastic."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...Every second of Sullivan's remount is riveting, thanks to a cast who manage to seem deeply connected to one another even though they're never onstage at the same time. I didn't see the original version, but it's hard to imagine younger performers conveying the same depth and hard-won experience."
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Zac Thompson

Windy City Times - Recommended

"...When the Turnaround Theatre-named for its home in a tiny shed at the end of a CTA route-introduced Friel's play to Chicago audiences in 1995, it became the production against which all subsequent ones would be measured. For this revival, Wicker Park's Den Theatre has reassembled that seminal company's director and cast-respectively, J.R. Sullivan, Si Osborne, Lia D. Mortensen and Brad Armacost. All make good use of the 17 intervening years, with countenances reflecting the weariness of age and experience. Osborne's Frank had lost none of his existential anomie, nor Mortensen's Grace her suppressed anger, or Armacost's Teddy his mercurial mischief, their contradictory confidences-delivered in relentlessly straightforward monologue-generating a suspense that rivets our attention for two and a half hours of the show's running time."

Mary Shen Barnidge

Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...Both Armacost and Mortensen received Jeff Award nominations for their original performances (Armacost won), and once again they're the highlights. Mortensen's Grace hides her fragility behind a cloud of cigarette smoke and a bottle of Scotch, trying to forget a past that creeps up on her when she least expects it. Armacost does remarkable work mapping Teddy's transition from lovably smarmy agent to heartbreakingly loyal confidante. He captivates the audience for the entirety of his lengthy speech, and drinks an impressive amount of Guinness along the way."
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Oliver Sava

ShowBizChicago - Recommended

"...If you are going to experience The Den Theatre’s intricate remount of Faith Healer, be prepared because it will surely be a test of your physical stamina. Timing in at almost three hours, Brian Friel’s play was successfully produced in Chicago by the now defunct TurnAround Theatre Company in 1995 and then transferred, becoming Steppenwolf’s first studio show. The Den Theatre revival has all the original players in place, including Brad Armacost, Lia D. Mortensen and Si Osborne now reunited after leaving their roles seventeen years ago. This remount also retains the original direction by J.R. Sullivan."
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Michael Roberts

Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"...Brad Armacost, Lia D. Mortensen and Si Osborne seem perfectly cast in the story of a shabby trio who recall their traveling years to remote hamlets of Scotland and Wales peddling miracle cures to enfeebled denizens."
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Nancy Malitz

ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...The mystery unfolds with a rich blend of humor, pathos and bewilderment. Do not think that because there is no interaction between the actors, this play is boring. Quite the contrary. Faith Healer does what all great theatre does-stimulate your imagination. I have seen several fine productions of Faith Healer, but Si Osborne, Lisa D. Mortensen and Brad Armacost set the standard for this densely difficult work. Don’t let this play, as Teddy would call it: “Fan-tast-ic” escape without experience it. The power of live theatre to weave a complex story is skillfully presented. Don’t miss this show!"
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Tom Williams

Let's Play at ChicagoNow - Somewhat Recommended

"...Playwright Brian Friel penned an intriguing personal expose of a showbiz healer. He presents the backstory in four monologues. Friel's storytelling is alluring, unraveling revelations. If FAITH HEALER was a book, I'd continuously thumb back to previous passages for clarity. The monologue format engages initially for each litany. His fleshed-out characters are vividly genuine, especially Teddy and his magic dog. A Guinness gulping Armacost is outstanding in his hilarious and heart-felt recollections. He was mesmerizing...mostly! But even the extraordinarily charming Armacost has trouble holding my attention for his nearly hour long remembrances."
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Katy Walsh

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Many years ago, Chicago theater audiences were lucky to see a fantastic production of Brian Friel's "Faith Healer" produced by TurnAround Theatre at Steppenwolf. This production was extended beyond what they had anticipated and claimed notoriety at The Jeff Awards. This took place 17 years ago, and now, The Den Theatre, that feisty new venue on Milwaukee Avenue is presenting a remount of this fantastic production, through January 20th,2013 ( or so they say) featuring the original cast. This is indeed a fantastic theatrical experience for young audiences of Chicago. It is a story about a "fantastic" healer ( please note that this word is used a lot in the show, which caused me to want to use it in this review as well) Frank Hardy ( a fantastic performance by Si Osborne), who travels the small towns of Ireland and Scotland along with his wife ( deftly handled by Lia D. Mortensen) and his manager"/promoter ( a brilliant performance by Brad Armacost)."
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Alan Bresloff

  Faith Healer Photo Gallery

   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.

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