Playwright Brian Friel's Faith Healer is finally set for a major new revival at the Abbey Theatre this Christmas, with actor Aidan Gillen cast in the titular role, after the production was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the new production, originally due to open in March 2020, Gillen will play travelling faith healer Frank Hardy; over the course of a series of monologues delivered by Frank, his wife Grace (Niamh Cusack, in her Abbey debut) and his manager Teddy (Nigel Lindsay), the story unfolds of the healer's journey and a terrible event that changes their lives forever.
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Watch: The cast of Faith Healer in rehearsal back in 2020
Acclaimed for his TV work in series like Game Of Thrones, Peaky Blinders, Love/Hate, The Wire, Queer As Folk and, most recently, Kin, Gillen is also a seasoned theatre veteran - in 2004, he was nominated for a Tony Award, for his performance in a Broadway production of Harold Pinter's The Caretaker.
The late Brian Friel's 1979 play has long been associated with actor Donal McCann, who starred as Hardy in the original Abbey production of the play in 1980, and returned to the role a decade later. Joe Dowling, who directed both productions, will also helm the new Abbey revival.
"Faith Healer is Friel's masterpiece, Says Dowling. "The complex storytelling, the powerful language and characters and its unique form make it one of the great plays in Abbey history. I am honoured to direct it again after all these years with a superb cast and design team."
Faith Healer will run at the Abbey Theatre from 3rd December 2021 – 22nd January 2022 - find out more here.