Arts & Culture

Act of Faith explores disability and healing

By Lorraine Graves

Published 12:08 PDT, Wed April 17, 2019

The Cultch and Realwheels Theatre Company offer you a chance to support diversity as well as have an enjoyable and enlightening evening with their offering of “Act of Faith.”

“Disability is a part of the human condition. It’s a complex and diverse feature of our culture, history and identity, one we proudly reflect in all of Realwheels’ practices and productions,” says Realwheels artistic director and Terra Nova resident Rena Cohen.

A little perplexing was the dance sequence near the beginning of the play. It didn’t seem to fit into the play but, rather, was appended. While beautifully done, there was no lead-in or reason it was part of this performance.

The substance of the play is those moments where the bedrock of what we believe, the basis for our lives, is shaken. That’s what happens to the characters in Janet Munsil’s play, “Act of Faith.”

Some of the jabs land smack dab in the face of the able-bodied people’s misconceptions. Laughter erupts when the two best friends talk about their weekly brunch and mock statements they’ve heard.

“Look at the two of you girls (in wheel chairs) sitting there having brunch just like normal people.”

With myth busting and a beautiful hummingbird analogy running through, this production was inspired by real events where a solid member of a community of people who used wheelchairs for mobility, suddenly becomes able to walk and she attributes it to her Christian faith while her friends are not so sure. Because she is no longer disabled, they question whether she even belongs in their group.

Faith, the young woman who begins to walk, says, “Just because you don’t believe something, doesn’t mean it isn’t true.”

This was a very Vancouver play. A production that rings all the truer and is more universal in appeal because it is true to place.

Spurring a knowing laugh that echoed through the theatre, Raugi Yu as the young physiotherapist in a growing friendship with Faith says, “I believe in ‘the mystery.’ I am spiritual but not religious.”

While some of the performers were clearly seasoned professionals and others were working towards that, this production works well. How are we to get more seasoned professionals in the theatre if we don’t support more productions like “Act of Faith?”

The writing, stagecraft and acting make the production move along. We care about the characters and what happens to them. The set is a stand-out. It seems just square pillars beautifully lit until the images appear. In reality, each is a rear projection screen which subtly changes to reflect changes in mood and location.

With only a few days left to take in this production, I encourage you to see “Act of Faith” both for the play and for what it represents–the wide range of normal that includes people of all abilities.

On through April 20 in the main theatre at The Cultch, 1895 Venables St, Vancouver.

For tickets click here, phone 604-251-1363, or email.

This venue is accessible.

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