REVIEW / THEATRE
Victoria Theatre/Last Friday
From the primary scene of The Father, the holes start to point out.
Gaps seem in conversations. Characters stumble mid-sentence, greedy for the precise phrase and settling for obscure gestures of “you know, the …”.
These lacunae are symptomatic of the dementia in Tracie Pang’s actually heartrending adaptation of French playwright Florian Zeller’s script, translated by Christopher Hampton.
Andre (Lim Kay Siu) is dropping his thoughts, however doesn’t realise – or refuses to acknowledge – this.
Cranky and paranoid, he drives away every carer introduced in to take care of him, to the despair of his daughter, Anne (Tan Kheng Hua), for whom it’s rising an increasing number of troublesome to maintain a person who generally doesn’t even know who she is.
She pins her hopes on new carer Laura (Frances Lee), who reminds her father of her absent sister.
However, her husband, Pierre (Emil Marwa), feels it could be finest for everybody if Andre have been positioned in a nursing home.
BOOK IT / THE FATHER
WHERE: Victoria Theatre, 9 Empress Place
WHEN: Until Sunday, 8pm (Tuesday to Friday); three and 8pm (Saturday and Sunday)
ADMISSION: $30 to $70 from Sistic (name 6348-5555 or go to www.sistic.com.sg)
The success of the play lies in the way it employs theatrical gadgets to make the complicated, non-linear world of a dementia sufferer relatable to an individual of sound thoughts.
Objects are there one second, gone the subsequent. It is morning; seconds later, it’s evening.
Your daughter hates you, then she loves you, then out of the blue, she is gone and, in her place, is a stranger who solutions to her identify.
Eucien Chia’s fish-eye set begins as a lushly appointed lounge – its cabinets crammed with the mementos of a wealthy life. They empty in the middle of the play when one shouldn’t be wanting – a stark visible metaphor of Andre’s disintegrating thoughts and a testomony to the deft abilities of the stage managers.
Further unsettling the viewers are disorienting bursts of strobe lighting by lighting designer James Tan and haunting wind chimes by sound designers Ctrl [email protected]
A play on dementia dangers rising tedious with repetition, however The Father packs so many layers into every reiteration or retold joke that it avoids this lure. The chorus of “if you’ll remember” to a hapless Andre turns into nothing in need of merciless.
Lim is stellar because the mercurial Andre. One second, he’s the cussed patriarch, stuffed with the bluster of a person totally certain of himself. “I am so intelligent that sometimes, I surprise even myself,” he declares. The subsequent second, he crumples into the phobia of a kid.
He is evenly matched by Tan as his long-suffering daughter, who weathers his tantrums, insults and references to her sister as “you know, the daughter I love”.
Her love for him is painful to look at, as she confronts the horrible selection that each one caregivers face: to decide on between the lifetime of the one you’re keen on and dwelling your personal.
The Father is terrifying. It reveals how horribly straightforward it’s to lose somebody to dementia or to slide into it your self.
It is a memento mori to reminiscence – to by no means take with no consideration your thoughts whereas it stays with you.