Theater group puts ‘Faith’ in new space

Rochester / play

By Tom Weber

Vertigo Theatre Factory is taking a leap of faith when it opens "Faith Healer" March 7.

That’s because the play will be one of the first to be staged in the new lobby performance space at Rochester Civic Theatre.


"I’m really looking forward to it because it’s a new space, and it’s always fun to do things in a new space," said Suzie Stier-Waletzki, who is directing the play.

No one knows, for instance, how the switch to Daylight Savings Time that weekend will affect the lobby stage, which has large windows facing to the west. "The windows could present a problem, but we can drape them," Stier-Waletzki said.

Such can-do attitude perhaps comes from the fact that Vertigo is without a permanent performance space of its own.

"We have no home, no base location," Stier-Waletzki said. "Right now, all the props are in my basement."

But this is no fly-by-night production. On the contrary, Vertigo intends to take "Faith Healer" to the Minnesota Association of Community Theaters play festival March 14 in Faribault.

For that competition, Vertigo has honed "Faith Healer" into a lean production. "It can only be an hour long for MACT Fest," Stier-Waletzki said. "I have spent hours cutting, cutting and cutting."

The cast, which consists of Mark Hansen, Debbie Fuehrer and Steven Kinney, has been rehearsing since Christmas.

"Faith Healer," by Irish playwright Brian Friel, is about a man who travels from town to town attempting to heal people. "Sometimes he’s successful, sometimes he’s not," Stier-Waletzki said.


When the play first opened on Broadway in 1979, it only lasted for 20 performances. But a 2006 revival received four Tony Award nominations.

"Everytime I listen to it, I catch something new that’s interwoven into the story," Stier-Waletzi said.

If you go

What: "Faith Healer," by Vertigo Theatre Factory

When: 8 p.m. March 7, 7 p.m. March 8

Where: Rochester Civic Theatre lobby, 20 Civic Center Drive S.E.

Tickets: $10 adults, $8 senior citizens and students, available at the door.

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