Play takes a gripping look at funny and sad sides of living with dementia

The Tony and Olivier award-winning Broadway and West End hit, Florian Zeller’s The Father, translated from the French by Christopher Hampton, is being staged at The Fugard Theatre until Saturday December 3.

Directed by Greg Karvellas, the show features an all South African cast headed by acting legend Marius Weyers.

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).

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.

“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.

“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,” says Galloway. Performances of The Father are Tuesdays to Saturdays, at 8pm, with 4pm matinee performances on Saturdays.

The Fugard Theatre is situated in the heart of District Six, on the corner of Harrington and Caledon Streets, Cape Town. Tickets range from R130 to R160. Book through Computicket.