Players produce ‘beautifully written’ play

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Beautiful writing leading to a powerful climax is the promise behind Brian Friel’s Faith Healer, the next production from The Arundel Players.

Ferring-based Margaret Mason is the director for the show which runs from Monday, June 6 until Saturday, June 11 at the Players’ Priory Playhouse, with a cast featuring Philip Amor (Hunston), Tony Muzzall (Worthing) and Rosie Purchase (Tangmere).

“It’s one of Friel’s earlier plays,” Margaret said. “It’s a series of four monologues but they are linked into a continuous story.

“Frank Hardy is what is termed an itinerant faith healer, and Frank’s story bookends the piece with those of his long-suffering wife Grace and his manager Teddy with their views on reality. The three tell of the dramatic climax of their relationship and how it affects each of them.

“Frank doesn’t understand his own talent. He is very self-mocking. He can never be sure when his talent is going to happen. It is not something that he can just call into place, and that is the problem. Also he drinks heavily and he smokes heavily.

“It is left to his wife and manager to sell him around the UK. They will never go to Ireland because that‘s where he and Grace come from, but with his powers waning, he is persuaded to go back and that’s where this horrific climax comes in.

“It’s a play about story-telling, which is very much what Brian Friel does. It’s just beautiful - so beautifully written. And I am so lucky. I have got a fantastic cast who knew the lines - and that’s no mean feat - almost from week one.”

The piece is Margaret’s choice: “It’s something that I have wanted to do for some time. Because we have just done two highly-successful, sell-out productions, one of Alan Bennett, one of Alan Ayckbourn, we felt that we should then put on something with… I should say… more depth. It’s something our actors are just itching to do.

“I directed Dancing At Lugnasa which is one of his most popular plays, and when you do a play, you tend to look at the writer’s other works as well. I came across Faith Healer and I was just knocked out!”

Tickets are priced at £10 (£8 for members) and available are from the box office on 075 2341 7926 (until 9pm daily). All performances start at 7.45pm.