A.R. Gurney, who died in June 2017, was prolific to the end. Like Verdi, Henry James, and Philip Roth (a recently deceased contemporary of Gurney’s), this urbane playwright exercised robust creative powers far beyond customary retirement age. Judging by the number of high-profile revivals since his death (most notably last season’s superb Off-Broadway production of Later Life), Gurney’s wit and insight are still integral to American drama.
Samuel D. Hunter is no stranger to writing about people with physical disabilities—or people living in Idaho, where he’s from. His play The Whale (2012), which concerned a morbidly obese man mostly confined to his sofa, won him a special Drama Desk Award. So it makes sense that he’d receive a commission to write a play for Theater Breaking Through Barriers (TBTB), a company that employs actors with disabilities. The result is The Healing, a strange play that fuses religion and faith with the struggle of people who have physical disabilities.