Written in 2012 by the French playwright of the middle generation Florian Zeller (b. 1979), The Father is an elusive account of a demented father and his closest relatives who are dealing and coping with his debilitating disease. The author has won several most prestigious European awards for his play, e.g. the French Molière awards and all of British drama awards. The play has been staged all over Europe, including the West End in London, and Broadway in New York. Due to his acuity and international success, Zeller
has often been compared to the French theatre »star« Yasmina Reza.
In The Father Zeller manages to lure us smartly into the world of a demented patriarch André by making us see the world through his eyes, and not through the eyes of his daughter Anne, her partner Pierre, or his caregiver. André is struggling hard to make sense of his increasingly perplexing world. His condition, manifested at different levels, is rapidly deteriorating. As the story unfolds, it continues to undermine our expectations and occasionally feels like a thriller, especially when perfect strangers show up in the father's flat, giving it a touch of weird Pinteresque black comedy.
As a result, one cannot say for a fact that we are in André's flat. Likewise, one cannot be absolutely certain whether the father has one or two daughters. If two, why does his other daughter, Elise, never come to visit him? Does Anne live in London or in Paris? Who are the strangers entering André's world? Are they seen only by the patient? How come we can see them too?
The play skilfully manipulates with the notion of time, probably in a similar vein as time is perceived by sufferers from Alzheimer's disease. On the other hand, it is fairly straightforward and seemingly uncomplicated. Nonetheless it makes us pose a Pirandellian question on the nature of the truth, and what is the reality of ours actually like.
The Father has often been compared to King Lear, mainly because of the inevitable madness and a state of total mental confusion shared by both protagonists, as well as in terms of addressing a father-daughter relationship. In any case, The Father is a proficiently written play tackling not only the problem of dementia or Alzheimer's disease, but also the cruelty of love between parents and children and the boundaries of patience, as well as how a parent-child relationship becomes inverted in old age when a child becomes a carer, and vice versa. Not only is it challenging to deal with one’s parents’ mental decay, but it is even more frustrating when one has to take decisions for them, since the inverted roles of a caregiver and a person-in-care are neither obvious nor in our nature.
Translator Andraž Ravnik
Director Jernej Kobal
Dramaturg Tatjana Doma
Set Designer Urša Vidic
Costume Designer Alan Hranitelj
Composer Laren Polič Zdravič
Language Consultant Jože Volk
Lighting Designers Urša Vidic, Jernej Kobal, Uroš Gorjanc
Assistant Language Consultant Živa Čebulj
Anne, André's daughter, Woman Manca Ogorevc
André, old man Branko Završan
Man, Pierre Andrej Murenc
Laura, Woman, Martine Lučka Počkaj
Opening 28 September 2018
Performance duration: 1 hour and 25 minutes. No interval.
Stage Manager Anže Čater • Prompter Simona Krošl • Lighting Master Uroš Gorjanc • Sound Master Drago Radaković • Property Master Roman Grdina • Front-of-House Manager Dani Les • Hair Stylists Marjana Sumrak, Andreja Veselak Pavlič • Wardrobe Masters Melita Trojar, Mojca Panič • Head of Construction Gregor Prah • Assistant Technical Manager Rajnhold Jelen • Technical Manager Miha Peperko • General Manager Tina Kosi, M.A.