Wednesday 7th to Saturday 10th February 2024
Directed by Roger Niven
Andre is a man facing persecution from all sides, and he refuses to take it any longer. First some girl, a “helper” -- whom he doesn’t need at all -- steals his favorite watch. Then his daughter Anne, a scheming woman who worries too much, tries to take his flat away -- the beautiful flat he’s had for over thirty years, in which he is still quite capable of living, thank you very much! His daughter Elise, the one he actually loves… where is she? She never comes to visit. Anne’s husband -- or lover -- Pierre, with whom she is moving to London -- or staying in Paris -- threatens Andre with violence if he will not cooperate, and to top it off, strangers keep entering Andre’s flat, telling him that they are his friends and family, telling him that he doesn’t live in his flat anymore. However aged he may be, Andre knows that he is a powerful man, a man of authority, and he will find some way to assert it. After all, he still has all his faculties…. Doesn’t he?
In a darkly humorous and deeply poignant translation by Christopher Hampton, Florian Zeller’s The Father is a tragi-comic mystery, a sobering and realistic family story, and an unsentimental, emotionally intense look at the world through the eyes of a man experiencing dementia, a dramatic illustration of the physical losses which occur along with the mental ones. The play was considered as 'the most acclaimed new play of the last decade' and won the Moliere Award for Best Play in 2014. The play has subsequently been made into a film starring Anthony Hopkins.
This play will be staged at The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre (formerly Havant Arts Centre), East Street Havant - Bench Theatre's home since 1977.
|Assistant Stage Manager
'The Father' is one of the most powerful and accomplished scripts I have ever read. After the first reading, I knew I wanted to direct this play. I haven’t seen the film and will do so only after the production. The point of the play is to show someone’s lived experience of this terrible and feared disease. The play does so with compassion and humanity. It is not without humour, but the terror of being ‘lost’ within one’s own world, within one’s own mind, is real and visceral. The cast and crew are excellent and have worked hard to bring to life this extraordinary play. I am profoundly grateful to them for all their efforts.
In 2022, one in ten people died of dementia. Until we learn how to live with dementia, it will remain a source of fear. Zeller’s play, translated by stalwart Christopher Hampton, exposes the human cost, not just to ANDRE but his family. It has been a pleasure to direct and I hope the audiences will leave with a better understanding of this medical and social blight.