March 4-20, 1971

The Father

by August Strindberg

Director's Notes

19th February

At this moment, we, the company are in the middle of our discoveries. The plot of the play is terrifyingly simple. "An army captain and his wife quarrel over the upbringing of their only child, a daughter. To get her way, the wife deliberately drives her husband mad." Inside this framework are a host of terrors, of unstated fears and frustrations.

The play is autobiographical in that the collapse of Strindberg's first marriage, to Siri von Essen, inspired the themes of infidelity and madness. Nevertheless we cannot conceive the play as existing only as an extension of the author; a great work of art will exist independently. The task of the company is to discover the truth for our age. For instance, whereas the early twentieth century saw the battle of the sexes, as unequal, we perhaps, can see a more formal balance in The Father. To find the truth for our age, we must nevertheless examine the age and the circumstance in which the play was written.

We have tried to be as accurate as possible in costume, furniture, properties and accents. Because much of the play is not naturalistic – the time sequence is enourmously compressed – we have felt it best to set The Father in naturalistic surroundings. The words then are free to create the interior of an interior.

– Christopher Newton

Cast & Creative Team
For The Father

  • Michael Ball
  • Margaret Barton
    Margaret, a nurse-maid
  • Mike Chappell
    The Orderly
  • Gary Files
    Doctor Östermark
  • Elva Mai Hoover
  • Frances Hyland
  • Alan Scarfe
    The Captain
  • Nicholas Simons
    The Pastor
  • Christopher Newton
  • Sheila Toye
  • John Hughes
    Lighting Design
  • Charlotte Green
    Stage Manager