Kenneth Cranham and Claire Skinner
in The Father  at the Tricycle Theatre, London
c Simon Annand

015 – The Father, by Florian Zeller, translated by Christopher Hampton

Nov 9, 2020 | Podcast Episodes | 0 comments

Published 12th November 2020
Florian Zeller’s award-winning play The Father presents a piercing portrait of a family living with dementia. Anyone who has witnessed the cruel effects of the disease will recognise painful truths in the portrayal of the father, Andre, and his daughter, Anne as they struggle to navigate the practical and emotional challenges. The play gains its unsettling power not just from the accuracy of its observations, but also from its inventive dramatic form, where the unities of time and space are disrupted in a way that results in our vicariously experiencing Andre’s mental confusion.

The Father premiered in Paris in 2012, winning the 2014 Moliere Award for Best Play. It translated into English by Christopher Hampton and opened at the Theatre Royal Bath in 2014 before transferring to the Tricycle Theatre in London and then to the West End for two runs. It was also produced on Broadway in 2016, and has won both Olivier and Tony awards for best actor in the title role for Kenneth Cranham and Frank Langella respectively.

The Father has also now been made into a feature film, directed by Florian Zeller and co-written with Christopher Hampton, and with a stellar cast including Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Coleman, Mark Gatiss, Imogen Poots, Rufus Sewell and Olivia Williams. The film was shown at the Sundance and Toronto film festivals earlier this year and will be released in the UK in January 2021, all being well.

I’m delighted and honoured to welcome none other than Sir Christopher Hampton as my guest on this episode of the podcast.

Sir Christopher Hampton

Sir Christopher is a renowned playwright and screenwriter whose plays have so far garnered four Tony Awards, three Oliviers, and five Evening Standard awards. His work for film and television has won him an Oscar for the screenplay based on his play Les Liaisons Dangereuse, as well as two BAFTAs, a special jury award at Cannes, the Prix Italia and a Writers’ Guild of America. Space will not permit us to list all of his work, other than to reference a few notable titles from his own plays, which include Total Eclipse, The Philanthropist, and Tales from Hollywood, translations of classics from Ibsen, Chekhov, Moliere, as well as Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage and Art. His screenplays include Carrington, The Quiet American, and Atonement, for which he received another Oscar nomination.

In addition to The Father he has translated no fewer than four more of Florian Zeller’s plays, including The Mother, The Son, The Truth, The Lie, and The Height of the Storm.

Sir Christopher was knighted in the New Year’s Honours list in January 2020 for services to drama.

Photo by Jill Furmanovsky

The Texts
If you are interested in buying the play text or other related books, we’d be delighted if you choose to purchase them by following the links below. We will earn a small commission on every book you purchase, which helps to keep the podcast going. You will also be supporting an independent bookseller. Thank you.
Photo © Marc Brenner
We have footnotes for this episode …

Our brief Footnotes to our episode on The Father expand on the subjects of the changing set in the play, and the significance of Andre’s watch.

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