Closed 1h 45m
The Father (TFANA)
Brooklyn
83

The Father (TFANA) NYC Reviews and Tickets

83%
(32 Reviews)
Positive
91%
Mixed
9%
Negative
0%
Members say
Great acting, Intense, Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

About the Show

Theatre for a New Audience presents August Strindberg's startling vision of marriage and the battle of the sexes.

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Member Reviews (32)

91
Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Riveting, Masterful

See it if you love great drama, wonderful acting and Strindberg

Don't see it if you want something uplifting and not an intense psychological drama

92
Great writing, Intelligent, Intense, Riveting

See it if For the majestic John Douglas Thompson, coming apart at the seams at the hands of his tactically superior wife. The dark humor is a joy.

Don't see it if You don't care for an epic battle of the sexes circa 1887. It seems like yesterday. It feigns a sexism we see today, though we hide it now.

Critic Reviews (18)

May 25th, 2016

"What really awakens the senses here is the feeling of suffocation that pervades the domestic battlefield…Ms. Arbus’s interpretation and Ms. Lacey’s performance help insure that the argument here is by no means one-sided. If Laura is compelled to destroy her husband, it’s because she has effectively been his prisoner for so long…Mr. Thompson’s Captain is, in a word, brilliant, an exact and devastating portrait of one man’s inevitable collapse."
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May 25th, 2016

“Turgid doesn’t begin to describe the dialectic embedded in August Strindberg’s melodramatic battle of wills, and yet adapter David Greig manages to winkle out humor and insight...Though Strindberg was clearly on the side of his hog-tied title character, a grudging respect is surely due such a resourceful virago.”
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June 9th, 2016

"The battle of the sexes comes served two ways in Theatre for a New Audience’s sturdy and ever-accessible double bill of classics...Maggie Lacey plays against her girl-next-door looks. In 'The Father,' she’s a wife who drives her husband crazy by undermining his trust...John Douglas Thompson brings depth as her spouse in each show."
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May 25th, 2016

“As played by Thompson, the Captain comes across like an innocuous nut job...By contrast, Lacey's Laura is calculating in her malice, ‘I've yet to meet the man I can't defeat,’ she tells her husband, her icy gaze freezing him in his tracks. Such melodramatic lines pervade the text, and this fabulous cast knocks them all out of the park. Strindberg's darkness, his pseudo-adolescent gloom, registers here as high camp and we love every second of it.”
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June 1st, 2016

"A taut, tension-filled psychological battle…Thompson charts the Captain's breakdown, step by harrowing step...His total surrender is both disturbing and impossible to turn away from, climaxing in a kind of fit that also works as a physical expression of total despair. Next to his tour de force, Lacey, as Laura, plays a kind of dramatic rope-a-dope, cannily circling her prey and inserting new stabs of doubt and fear into his head...Arbus gets exceptional work from her cast."
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June 7th, 2016

"These inspired revivals using the Thornton Wilder adaptation of 'A Doll’s House' and Scottish playwright David Greig’s new English language version of 'The Father' feature a company of actors led by the magnificent John Douglas Thompson and Maggie Lacey, all of whom appear in both plays. With the audience sitting on opposite sides of a narrow playing area with two walls removed that puts the viewers ring side, these productions are dazzling theater whether seen in tandem or seen separately."
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May 30th, 2016

"The plays feel more accessible and tailored to a wider audience than ever, thanks to dual outstanding lead performances in both pieces by John Douglas Thompson and Maggie Lacey. Under the capable direction of Arin Arbus, Thompson and Lacey storm through both masterworks with an intensity and passion that elevate them far above all other elements of the productions."
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May 25th, 2016

"Insightfully directed…A terrific repertory ensemble...Thompson gives full reign to the high-octane dramatic chops that have earned him a reputation as one of the contemporary theater's best and most vivid Shakespearean actors…I've always found 'The Father' something of a yawn, hopelessly dated and excessively melodramatic. But seeing it in this context didn't have a boring moment, it's full of unforgettable moments."
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May 27th, 2016

"As wonderful as these supporting characters are, the spotlight goes to the main couple at the center of the play. In one moment purring at each other and another with their claws out, Lacey and Thompson embody the myriad challenges of married life, and little of the joys. It’s messy, it’s unromantic, and it’s real. It also serves to hold a mirror up to the boxes both women and men were put into back in the late 19th century, and perhaps still are."
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May 26th, 2016

"‘The Father’ and ‘A Doll’s House’ are always worth revisiting, and the idea of pairing these two modern classics about marriage is commendable. For all their flaws, the productions are consistently viewable and smoothly done. They're accessible and thoughtful but—aside from the magnetic Thompson—neither is particularly memorable; perhaps, in fact, that's somewhat to their credit."
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June 2nd, 2016

"A gem of a play…The acting ensemble delivers the goods…Thompson, as the Captain, balances his performance with displays of hubris early on and then the desolation of a man suffering a severe mental breakdown. Lacey portrays the Captain’s wife Laura with all the ruthlessness of Lady Macbeth…Arbus does a double slam-dunk by staging these two 19th-century works in rotation. With a fine acting ensemble, this theatrical event is a must-see."
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June 9th, 2016

"Theatre for a New Audience presents the two works in repertory to great effect…Thompson’s performance as the Captain is a particular tour de force, taking him from an outwardly stern and commanding person to one tormented by passion and the continual destruction of his dreams...Lacey plays Laura to perfection….Arin Arbus’s direction works well here, especially in terms of building the tension of who will be found ultimately in the wrong…Very well done indeed."
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May 28th, 2016

"I am still experiencing emotional aftershocks from the ground shifting so suddenly beneath my feet. It stings and aches and takes you completely by surprise...The thrill, the shock, the surprise, the horror, the recognition, and the sorrow are ignited by the masterful and astounding performances by Maggie Lacey and John Douglas Thompson."
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May 25th, 2016

"An intimate engagement with powerful emotions…Thompson creates the tortured angst twisted with authority of this complex and intriguing character…The doctor in ‘The Father’ could be taken for a wimp, but Gore shows us his courage when he listens carefully to both sides of an argument, and appears to be swayed only by reason…Laurie Kennedy as the captain's childhood nurse stands out in her delicate, moving performance as both mother and savior of her now grown charge."
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May 30th, 2016

"Gripping and resonant...As played by Lacey, Laura in 'The Father' is not a mere villain or even a plotting, revenge-driven woman. The suffocating atmosphere of her house, and her husband’s insufferable superiority, enhance the feeling of claustrophobia that permeates the production...Especially affecting are how the conclusions of plays are staged, with scenes that are both haunting and damning of the characters and offer new perspectives that blur the lines of good and evil."
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May 27th, 2016

"Unlike Ibsen’s proto-feminist case for liberation, Strindberg asserts here that women have always been the stronger...Lacey’s convincing Laura is Nora as an utter adult. And Thompson certainly gets his chance here to release all emotional safety...This is modern domestic drama of the highest caliber, played exceptionally well, and presented in a program that will leave you discussing it for days."
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May 30th, 2016

"A harrowing and magnificent performance by Thompson...The Strindberg provides him with a role of rare emotional range in which he, along with the audience watching him, absolutely revels...Arbus and her marvelous casts invite us to place these plays beside each other and come away with a new understanding, not only of these works, not only of these playwrights, but of ourselves. Can great theater do more?"
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May 26th, 2016

“A great piece of theater will leave its audience having a full-out discussion. TFANA’s productions leave its audiences having full-out debates...One particular moment between Adolph and Bertha elicited a collective gasp from the audience...Thompson and Lacey give some of the most distressing, high-energy portrayals of husband and wife since Burton and Taylor in ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’”
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