WBEZ | Den Theatre http://www.wbez.org/tags/den-theatre Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Den Theatre's Faith Healer: Short of Miraculous http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-12/den-theatres-faith-healer-short-miraculous-104546 <p><p>´╗┐Playwright Brian Friel (&quot;<em>Dancing at Lughnasa&quot;</em>) is the bard of waning traditional Ireland, recounting the sad stories behind the jocund facade. In <em>&quot;Faith Healer&quot;</em>, he leaves Ireland without actually leaving it, addressing the quintessentially Irish question of how to reconcile faith with reality.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6855_407.th_.th_.op_.dentheatre(1).jpg" style="float: right; height: 201px; width: 300px;" title="As they were: 1994 production of Faith Healer" />The title describes both the central character (a maybe-mountebank, maybe-miracle worker) and the phenomenon of having one&#39;s faith in others healed or destroyed by their actions. In a series of monologues, the ostensible healer Frank (Si Osborne), his wife Grace (Lia Mortensen) and their amanuensis Teddy (Brad Armacost) recount the complexities of their long-term three-way relationship.</div><p>The names are significant: Frank refuses to delude himself or the others about the nature of his &quot;gift,&quot; if there is one; Grace clings to her belief that her husband is a blessing; and Teddy (Theodore, or &quot;God&#39;s gift&quot;) turns out to be the only thing holding them together.</p><p>And their collective reflection on themselves and one another gains resonance from the three actors&#39; having played the roles under the same director (J.R.Sullivan) nearly 20 years ago, and from Osborne and Mortensen&#39;s now-dissolved marriage. Yet with all these elements going for the production, it doesn&#39;t quite make it.</p><p>Friel&#39;s play is a bit long-winded, as though the playwright were simply intoxicated by the sound of his characters&#39; voices. And though Armacost&#39;s touchingly comic performance and Mortensen&#39;s fierce, nuanced and loving one make their characters come alive, Osborne&#39;s Frank remains something of a cipher.</p><p>He&#39;s a perfect blend of confidence and self-doubt, charm and mockery, in his opening monologue. But when it&#39;s time for him to wrap up the story and resolve the contradictions in what the three of them have said, he seems to run out of steam.</p><p>To be fair, he&#39;s also burdened with a final sentence that&#39;s less a resolution than a punch-line, which falls flat just like the punch-line of a joke that&#39;s gone on too long. The artists&#39; desire to return in middle age to a work of their youth is understandable, particularly a work as profoundly retrospective as this.</p><p>But that desire can&#39;t overcome a fundamental weakness &mdash; whether of script, direction or performance &mdash; which leaves the<em> &quot;Faith Healer&quot;</em> audience scratching its head, wondering exactly what all the fuss was about.</p></p> Mon, 24 Dec 2012 14:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-12/den-theatres-faith-healer-short-miraculous-104546 Daily Rehearsal: 'Faith Healer' remounts at the Den Theatre http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-10/daily-rehearsal-faith-healer-remounts-den-theatre-103555 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Faith-Healer-Playbill-04-79.jpg" style="float: left; " title="" /><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- Coming after the New Year</strong></span></span>:&nbsp;<a href="http://upcomedyclub.com/enhancedCalendar.cfm?date=12/01/12">Carlos Mencia</a> and <a href="http://upcomedyclub.com/enhancedCalendar.cfm?date=01/01/13">Nick Krol</a>l (of FX&#39;s <em>The League</em>) head to UP.</p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 14px; "><strong>-&nbsp;The Den Theatre is remounting Brian Friel</strong></span></span>&#39;s <em>Faith Healer</em> <a href="http://www.brownpapertickets.com">starting in December</a>. According to the Den, the play previously &quot;played to sold-out houses&quot; at both TurnAround Theatre and Steppenwolf in 1995. It&#39;s a play that &quot;shows us the reality of grace, the unfolding of mystery and the healing powers of faith,&quot; and first opened on Broadway in 1979.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- The <a href="https://twitter.com/redeyechicago/status/263724687937400832">RedEye celebrated </a>10 years of publishing</strong></span></span>&nbsp;last night with an all-star roast at the Laugh Factory, <a href="https://twitter.com/ErnestWilkins/status/263497708852092928">MCed by Ernest Wilkins</a>.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Wed, 31 Oct 2012 12:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-10/daily-rehearsal-faith-healer-remounts-den-theatre-103555 Daily Rehearsal: Goodman Theatre adds new members to Playwrights Unit http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-10/daily-rehearsal-goodman-theatre-adds-new-members-playwrights-unit <p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>-&nbsp;The<a href="http://www.thedentheatre.com/"> Den Theatre</a>&#39;s first full season</strong></span></span> launches October 26 with <em>The Quality of Life</em>. Usually a place for other companies to put up their work, Lia D. Mortensen directs this production about politics and marriage.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- Steppenwolf&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="http://virginiawoolfonbroadway.com"><em>Who&rsquo;s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? </em></a></strong></span></span>opens on Broadway this weekend (&quot;50 years to the day after the original Broadway production&quot;) with cast members Amy Morton and Tracy Letts in the roles of Martha and George, respectively.&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/playwrights%20unit.jpg" style="float: left; height: 152px; width: 300px; " title="" /><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- The Goodman Theatre</strong></span></span> has announced the new additions<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-10-12/daily-rehearsal-playwright-unit-participants-announced-93089"> to their Playwrights Unit</a>; they&#39;re Greg Allen, who founded The Neo-Futurists; Alice Austen, who is also a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists; Ike Holter, one of the founders of The Inconvenience and the mind behind Hit the Wall; and Christopher Oscar&nbsp;Pe├▒a, the writer of&nbsp;<em>however long the night. </em>Get even more information on these folks <a href="https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151044839136237.423123.43695791236&amp;type=1">here</a>.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- <a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20121009/BLOGS06/121009792/a-purse-that-recharges-your-phone-an-online-handmade-furniture-gallery-and-more#ixzz28uKJcVqV">Crain&#39;s reports</a> that the Comedy Bar Chicago</strong></span></span> is relaunching with Jim Belushi this month and expanding their performances; they&#39;re having a gala celebration the weekend of October 18.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Wed, 10 Oct 2012 13:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-10/daily-rehearsal-goodman-theatre-adds-new-members-playwrights-unit