A co-production by MTC and STC of a new play which has been acclaimed in Paris, London and New York will soon be seen in Sydney (from 19 August) and in Melbourne (from 2 November). The Father is by a prodigiously successful young Frenchman who published his first novel at 21 and is still only 38. Florian Zeller wrote The Father in French in 2012; it has been ‘vividly translated’ by Christopher Hampton, who adapted Les Liaisons Dangereuses.
The Father concerns André, an 80 year old who is trying to come to terms with the onset of dementia. The play is something of a mystery or a kind of thriller. André was once a tap dancer, or was he an engineer? Is he living in Paris with his daughter Anne and her husband, Antoine or in London with Anne and her new lover, Pierre. And he can’t find his watch. Michael Billington in the Guardian found it ranging from the ‘intellectually teasing to the emotionally moving’. Dominic Cavendish in the Telegraph called it a ‘super- smart, finally heart-breaking play’.
In Australia, the play will be directed by Damien Ryan from the independent company Sport for Jove.
The title role will be taken by John Bell who is a little younger than his character, André, who is described by Billington as having ‘a fierce lucidity and a senile cantankerousness’. Florian Zeller acknowledges the influence on his play of Harold Pinter and of King Lear. Both are familiar territory to John Bell.
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