Theater Review: The Father

The Father, August Strindberg's stirring psychological drama, recounts the tragic story of a man haunted by an aggressive, manipulative wife and a household of fanatical, vindictive women.

By NAOMI DOUDAI
September 26, 2006 10:01
1 minute read.
father play 88 298

father play 88 298. (photo credit: Cameri Theater)

 
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The Father By August Strindberg Translation by Gad Kaynar The Cameri Theatre, Tel Aviv The Father, August Strindberg's stirring psychological drama, recounts the tragic story of a man haunted by an aggressive, manipulative wife and a household of fanatical, vindictive women. The tale follows the man's struggle to save his beloved daughter from the influence influence of his wife. Though long regarded simply as an old-school misogynist, Strindberg has benefited to a degree from the deeper, psycho-analytical approach to his work taken by today's critics, who see the playwright's sexual confusion and insecurity as possible explanations for his controversial portrayal of his female characters. But any present-day interpretation of Strindberg's work still depends on the approach of its director. In this Cameri Theater production, director Yossi Pollak sticks with the time-honored, conventional staging of the play, depicting the Captain as a man hounded, persecuted and ultimately demolished in the battle of the sexes. The role is played by Gil Frank with a passion that accumulates over the course of the play. It's a sublime study, alternately genial and savage, of the character's mental and moral debasement. As the Captain's wife, Sara von Schwarze fails to bring the marital conflict to its full storming intensity, but Rosina Cambos, as the Captain's childhood nurse, offers a touching portrait of religious conviction and overpowering, motherly love. The production's well-paced direction is supported by Avi Sechvi's simple but atmospheric white, gray and black set, and by scary sound and musical effects provided by Avi Balleli. The performance is well-worth watching, for Frank's powerful portrayal of the Captain above all.

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