The Tony and Olivier award-winning Broadway and West End hit, Florian Zeller's The Father, translated from the French by Christopher Hampton, is set to have its South African premiere at The Fugard Studio Theatre from 8 November and run until 3 December 2016.
The Father peers inside the mind of Andre, a retired dancer living with his adult daughter Anne and her husband. Or is he a retired engineer receiving a visit from Anne who has moved away with her boyfriend? Why do strangers keep turning up in his room? And where has he left his watch? The Father is a funny, sad and poignant roller coaster ride on a fight against dementia that twists and turns with all the excitement of a taut thriller.
An Eric Abraham and Fugard Theatre production The Father will be directed by Greg Karvellas (Clybourne Park; Bad Jews; CHAMP) and features an all South African cast headed by acting legend Marius Weyers. Set design is by Rocco Pool, with costume design by Birrie le Roux and lighting design by Kieran McGregor.
The powerhouse cast includes Anthea Thompson (My Briljante Egskeiding, Shirley Valentine, Madam and Eve), Emily Child (The Pervert Laura; The Emissary, A Certain Lady), Brent Palmer (A Steady Rain, The Kingmakers, Bench), Nicholas Pauling (Clybourne Park, A Steady Rain, Epstein) and Amy Louise Wilson (The Book of Negroes, Scrape and The Year of the Bicycle).
Winner of the 2015 Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play Tony Award, The Father also scooped top British and French Olivier and Moliere Awards. It received an array of five star reviews, including The London Guardian “hugely rewarding ….a savagely honest study of dementia ”, The London Times “masterful, well-mannered mix of laughter and desolation puts you into the mind-set of someone in the midst of mental decay like nothing we’ve ever seen before” ; The London Telegraph “an unqualified triumph”, the London FT “The brilliance of Florian Zeller’s play, translated from the French by Christopher Hampton, is that it doesn’t just show us the impact of dementia, it uses the nature of theatre to put us in the same boat as André” and British Theatre.com “a beautiful symphony of pain. This is a play for our times.”
“Dementia is a disease that many can relate to,” says Daniel Galloway, Executive Director of The Fugard Theatre. “We may have experiences of living through it with loved ones, or faced the real and terrifying thought that this degenerative disease of the brain is not selective of circumstance and can affect any of us. We have no control over it, no matter who we are. The Father is a very poignant exploration of the frailty of the human mind.”
Marius Weyers is one of South Africa’s most loved and prolific actors whose career has spanned decades across stage and screen both locally and internationally. His numerous films have included Twee Grade van Moord, Dis Ek, Anna, Nothing for Mahala, Die Laaste Tango, Blood Diamond, The Power of One and The Gods Must Be Crazy. On stage his credits include Oom Wanja / Uncle Vanya, Beckett, The Rainmaker, Othello, Hamlet directed by Dame Janet Suzman and Sir Anthony Sher’s I.D.
Zeller has been described as ‘the most exciting new theatre writer of our time’, by The London Guardian. He wrote his first novel at the age of 22, and recently and uniquely had three of his acclaimed plays – The Mother, The Father and The Truth – running in London theatres at the same time.
“We are also thrilled to also announce that we will be staging The Father's companion piece, The Mother in February next year, directed by Janice Honeyman and starring Anna-Mart van der Merwe.