Ian McDiarmid, Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play. Now, it’s not UNtrue that I am devoted to things StarWarsian. But I can say with complete objectivity that this was one of the best performances I’ve seen on stage ever.
When I saw The Faith Healer, I missed almost the entirety of the first act due to the fact that I am a six-foot-one man. I am constantly shamed by the fact that I block the view for people behind me, so when a charming old gentlemen seated behind me asked me to hunch down, I did so. I spent the entire first act folded in a shape not unlike something you might see in Cirque du Soleil. This was combined with a woman seated directly in front of me who almost seemed to be intentionally moving her head about constantly. And while it was fun to imagine that Cherry Jones was playing a game of peek-a-boo with me, it meant that I only saw perhaps 20% of the first act, while 100% of the act was spent digging an large bruise into the knees I had painfully pressed against the seats in front of me.
At intermission, I bid Shelley farewell, and found an empty seat so far to the right that it was practically fascist. But no one was behind or in front of me. Then Mr. McDiarmid came on. And ALL was forgot. His performance was amazing. He blended comedy and pain in such a way that broke my heart, all the while weaving a story that I was completely caught up in. And it turns out that not only is he a master at acting, he is also a complete gentleman. I mean, just read his acceptance speech. What a hero for actors.
If you haven’t seen The Faith Healer, do so. Everyone that tells you it’s work to watch is right. But it’s so worth that work. Watching the final speech (given by Ralph Fiennes) really made me understand why theatre and religion have always been closely tied. It’s transcendent.