Theater Breaking Through Barriers presents the world premiere of Samuel D. Hunter's drama about a group of childhood friends who reunite when one of their pals passes away. More…
Twenty-five years ago, a group of kids met at a summer camp where the head counselor secretly taught them that their disabilities could be 'cured' through the power of prayer. Today, the old friends have gathered to mourn the untimely passing of one of their circle. Over the course of the night, old wounds are uncovered, friendships are tested, and a troubling truth about their late friend becomes clear. 'The Healing' features a cast of mostly differently abled actors,
"I was pleasantly surprised how uniquely an otherwise familiar plot was handled…The dialogue throughout was very natural, relaxed, and realistic, further making the disabilities of the characters truly a secondary focus…We become very involved with all of the characters through some very personal and heartfelt stories…This theater company is true to its name: Theater Breaking Through Barriers. It has certainly done just that with this unique and overall stellar production." Full Review
"Authors are always looking to bring something new to this dramatic territory. In his arresting new drama 'The Healing,' playwright Samuel D. Hunter does just that, and it elevates the genre to new levels of emotional heights…All of the performances feel incredibly well-developed...In the central role, DeVido is simply mesmerizing, imbuing Sharon with the right amount of guilt…'The Healing' deftly blends humor and sadness." Full Review
“What Hunter has done is written a genuine and authentic drama about real people with real emotions. And that makes 'The Healing' infinitely more heartbreaking...From top to bottom, this cast was triumphant...Powell-Jones' impeccable guidance brought 'The Healing' to great heights. With fluid direction, this piece moved yet felt lived in. Honesty was the key to Powell-Jones’ success...An important play that needs attention." Full Review
"The cast of talented actors directed by Stella Powell-Jones has an incredible chemistry. Every one of them deserves praise, but I especially want to pay tribute to Shannon DeVido...'The Healing' is a very smart and subtle piece of theater. It grabs you quickly with its tasty cynical humor and holds you tight...I highly recommend seeing 'The Healing,' as it is a remarkable show." Full Review
"With remarkable economy and not a hint of sentimentality, Hunter sketches in the characters and the ways they are relate to each other…Hunter writes plays that present a highly nuanced view of religion...He never dismisses his characters' spiritual hungers...Under the meticulous direction of Stella Powell-Jones, the cast convincingly creates one of those circles of friends who can easily take up with each other, no matter how long they have been apart." Full Review
"A moving, beautifully acted new drama…Mr. Hunter writes with lively humor and grace, depicting the awkwardness and grief that hover in the air among Zoe’s friends…All of the characters with disabilities are drawn with layered naturalness; you quickly forget that they face challenges most people do not as their exchanges focus on issues that affect everyone…Although its temperature remains fairly sedate, 'The Healing' rises to a quiet emotional climax." Full Review
"A thoughtful and affecting new drama...The actors perform with tremendous ease in their complicated bodies…There is humor in the play, notably from Mary Theresa Archbold as the grouchy Laura and David Harrell as the kind, gay Donald. But there are also moments of defensiveness, anger and judgment. It’s a sensitive portrait of wounded people moving, with difficulty but also with some help, toward forgiveness." Full Review
"A moving play that showcases a talented ensemble of actors...Hunter finds that perfect balance between humor and sadness that exists in life and the believable dialogue reflects that...‘The Healing’ is a true ensemble piece and it's difficult to single anyone out, but it's more Sharon's story than anyone else's. DeVido is hilarious...But she is also heartbreaking...The only one in the cast that I'd seen before is McGinty, but I hope to see them all again." Full Review
“Samuel D. Hunter does what he always does so beautifully: he creates a play centered around one big thing that ends up not being what the play is about at all, infusing a sense of surprise to the work...The ensemble of ‘The Healing’ exudes strength and vulnerability simultaneously and gives nuanced performances that are startlingly honest. Stella Powell-Jones’ direction allows the actors the opportunity to provide these quiet and still moments that seamlessly flow from past to present.” Full Review
"An affecting meditation on faith, friendship and forgiveness…Hunter and director Stella Powell-Jones sift through the emotional damage with great sensitivity. The cast, composed of both abled-bodied and disabled actors is uniformly excellent. But Shannon DeVido is a standout…There's a not-exactly surprise twist that comes toward the end of the show's 90 minutes but the survivors' struggle to get there is still moving—and worth seeing." Full Review
"Hunter deftly peels back the layers of sorrow in these characters...He creates complete characters the audience easily connects to, even if a few moments in the play come across as overly constructed. Covering momentous subject matters like faith, friendship, loneliness, and legacy, Hunter can only dabble a little in each, with faith looming largest. But Hunter’s dabbling is better than most playwrights’ deepest dives." Full Review
"A smart and sensitive piece about the harm done to vulnerable people in the name of religion…Although he tends to dry up when switching from two-character scenes to ‘crowd’ scenes of three or more, Hunter keeps us involved in the confessional material. Unfortunately, the storytelling drags under Stella Powell-Jones’ plodding direction — although to be fair, the stage is a bit small to handle two wheelchairs." Full Review
“Samuel D. Hunter’s sensitive but unsentimental and thinly plotted new play...Regardless of the actors’ particular physical problems, there’s nothing wrong with their acting, each character being completely real and in the moment...Hunter has helped greatly by showing them as fully dimensional, warts and all. Director Stella Powell-Jones’s pause-filled, 90-minute, intermissionless production tends toward occasional sluggishness, however, and only a few scenes have conventional dramatic punch.” Full Review
“‘The Healing’ is a sensitive study of friends living with disabilities and shared unhappy memories. Its weakness is that it is too understated like an example of cinema verité that has not been truly shaped as a piece of drama. Director Stella Powell-Jones has obtained beautiful performances from her cast at the same time that her pacing seems lacking in dynamism. It is to be hoped that Hunter will revise this version for the next production into a more compelling drama.” Full Review
“Hunter does an admirable job of populating his world with likable, true-to-life characters, but he’d get more present-tense energy out of them if he’d let them set the blame game aside and try to harder to reach each other. Similarly, director Stella Powell-Jones keeps the actors emotionally grounded, but could stand to prune some of the awkward pauses and move the action forward with greater surety. Despite its stagnant beats, though, ‘The Healing’ does spark an intriguing debate.” Full Review
"The cast is uniformly superb…The play itself has moments of wit and pathos, but never really goes anywhere. It’s an interesting set-up but it unfolds fairly predictably and without any twists, surprises or even much of a dramatic climax…But the acting and direction go a very long way in overcoming these faults and make 'The Healing' an often fascinating glimpse into the spiritual lives of people who were given few choices in life except how to escape." Full Review
"Hunter's play contemplates the relationships between our physical and spiritual selves, and the damage that extremist thinking can perpetuate. Unfortunately the heavy emotions remain, steady and unchanging, offering little chance for real revelation to characters or audience alike…There's plenty of fodder for contemplation here, but Hunter seems tentative about shaping it into drama." Full Review
“The performers are good...Stella Powell-Jones has staged simply but declaratively, on a cramped but homey set...Unfortunately, these handsome elements have not found a script worthy of their polish. Hunter's writing trades thoroughly on clichés - many of them his own...The one-sidedness his writing displays makes it impossible for it to encourage a greater conversation about the role faith can or should assume in our lives...A rant's a rant, no matter how prettily it's dressed up.” Full Review
"There were a lot of laughs interspersed with the sadder moments, and all of the actors had terrific comic timing...This story of disability was told with great authenticity and truth...Bravo, cast of 'The Healing'...Hunter has written truthful, interesting characters, with flaws and demons. The dialogue was quirky and smart and always completely authentic to the characters...This was a smart, funny, sad, touching piece about a topic I found fascinating." Full Review
See it if To become familiar with Samuel Hunter - who writes about modern alienation from family, community and faith & the need to connect
Don't see it if You need a break from tense relationships
See it if you want to see one of America's best playwrights serving great material through terrific actors who don't get enough opportunities
Don't see it if you don't like Samuel D. Hunter plays. Because this is definitely one of his.
See it if You are interested in characters coming to grips with the death of a friend and their different views on faith.
Don't see it if You would like more humor and wit to complement the serious subject matter.
See it if you'd love to experience superb naturalistic acting by a largely hidden segment of the acting community: the disabled, & you like dramas
Don't see it if you are not a fan of slow-paced plays (even though the slow pace is due to well-crafted naturalistic acting and scriptwriting)
See it if you want an absorbing play dealing with people with whom you usually do not come into contact.
Don't see it if actors with disabilities might upset you. Though, you should experience this wonderful cast.
See it if You are ready for a frank discussion of religious faith and its impact on young minds. Issues of personal responsibility arise as well.
Don't see it if You are squeamish about religious beliefs and/or death.
See it if you want to see strong acting in an original & thought-provoking play. It's heavier then the average show with an engaging plot.
Don't see it if you don't want to roll your eyes, a lot. There's one weak actor & a lot of heavy-handed religious rants.
See it if you're open to seeing on stage actors with talent and commitment to their craft who happen to be living with physical challenges
Don't see it if you're looking for something light or straight-forward or are uncomfortable around heavy topics (religion, mental illness)
See it if You value characters discussing issues which are at the core of their lives. These are flawed characters, as all of us are.
Don't see it if You mind that these people are a bit too cardboard and inflexible (though some real people are too). Not Hunter's best work, but good stuff.
See it if You want to see a touching drama filled with emotion & sometimes sense of humor. Good cast for the most part.
Don't see it if If you are the religious type who gets easily offended, people w disabilities make you uncomfortable or if topic of death bothers you.
See it if You care about a profoundly human story
Don't see it if You don't like theatre that has an occasional plodding moment but otherwise portrays an too often untold slice of life with humor and grace
See it if Well acted relatable stories. Powerful treatment of people with disabilities and religious (fundamentalist) themes.
Don't see it if you can't handle actors with real disabilities. Smallish production.
See it if you'd appreciate characters with disabilities actually being portrayed by PEOPLE with disabilities. Praise Theater Jesus!
Don't see it if you won't make it through a well-meaning but ultimately slow and uneven script, however earnestly performed.
See it if You're interested in shows that explore themes surrounding life, death, spirituality, forgiveness. Well performed by talented actors.
Don't see it if It's slow at times and some things go unresolved.
See it if You like Samuel Hunter plays and/or you want to see a play that attempts to honestly deal with disability issues with disabled actors.
Don't see it if You want a clear resolution or ending to the play.
See it if you can endure a 90 minute show which should have been performed in 60. Well acted, good writing, interesting story line, but draggy.
Don't see it if disabled actors make you uncomfortable; you tend to get uneasy during a very slow performance.
See it if You enjoy dramas about people confronting the demons of their past.
Don't see it if you are looking for something light or need a tightly closed story. Something about this felt unfinished to me.
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