– They Wanted Confirmation That They Were Incurable –
The two minute piece that I have chosen for class comes from Frank’s first monologue, starting on page 7 with “And the people who came – what is there to say about the?…” to page 8, ending with, “And I sometimes got the impression, too, that if we hadn’t come to them, they would have sought us out.” I chose this piece specifically because it makes me think of people I know personally. Not to mention, I just feel that it is very powerful – it speaks to how people will do anything for a cure, and yet, they go with the thought that it won’t work – even if they tell you the opposite. If you cure them, then what do they have to fall back on? If you don’t cure them, well, they didn’t think you could and they knew it from the beginning.
I feel in this piece, you see Frank being honest for once (granted, at this point you take his word at face value – you haven’t heard what everyone else has to say about him). He walks among these people as the Faith Healer, not really knowing that he can heal anyone. He describes himself as a “mountebank”, a fraud or deceiver. He’s being honest that this could all be a scam – BUT, he can occasionally actually accomplish something and heal someone. He knows that he can heal sometimes, but he says upfront that he can’t all the time. He says that his healing works “occasionally, just occasionally”, and they’re “miracles” – this almost says to me that he doesn’t believe himself to be the cause or reason. There’s something else at work that works every now and then.
Frank is being very realistic in this part, as well. As you come to find out later in the play, through everyone else’s monologues, Frank can be rooted in denial (like the birth of his son – two out of the three of them corroborate the story that there was an infant born to Frank and Grace). However, in this piece, he is very realistic about his own “ability” and the feelings of the people around him. He knows that they are desperate, that they want confirmation that they are unable to be healed, and yet if he does heal them, they’ll panic. Also he can be cocky at times, he is probably right in his last statement that people are waiting to hear about whether this worked or not, and that they would have come to him eventually – humans do tend to be curious when it comes to things they cannot explain.
Gracie is essentially stuck on Frank, and even though she describes him as a twisted man that knew exactly how to hurt people, she also realizes that she needs him to survive. In his work, she describes him as a man who was in complete mastery. He was able to harmonize and anything was possible with him. But, he also erased everyone and everything out of his mind – including her. He obliterated her from his mind, even though she claims to tend to him, nurse him, humor him, etc.
Teddy on the other hand describes Frank as no great artist, just mediocre. He was talented, and had brains, but no ambition. But, all of that talent and all of his brains, left him “knackered” and “castrated” – it made him less of a man, tired and worn down. Teddy loves Frank, and again we have these characters explaining how THEY see the other. Teddy sees him as a great, talented man, while Frank doesn’t even have faith in his own Faith Healings.