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Strindberg's "The Father"

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Category: Entertainment
Start date: 15 Nov 2018 06:30 PM
End date: 01 Dec 2018 02:00 PM
Street / Location: Gene Frankel Theatre, 24 Bond street
City / town: New York
Country: New York, USA
Organizer: Strindberg Rep
Email: jsacrew@gmail.com
Phone: 212.868.4444
Homepage: www.smarttix.com

In this tragedy by Swedish playwright August Strindberg, a wife casts doubts as to whether her husband is father of her daughter, in order to maintain control over daughter's academic and religious education. The husband, an army captain, is a scientist and a "free thinker," meaning atheist. He would have daughter educated to be a teacher, while the mother would have her become a painter. The mother manipulates the town Pastor (who happens to be her stepbrother) and the newly arrived town Doctor for her purposes. She uses her erotic influence over the doctor and her readiness to claim that the family lawyer is her child's father to drive her husband into the arms of his old trusted nurse, who straitjackets him.

Conceived before Freud described the Oedipus Complex, this 1887 play offers a proto-Freudian explanation of the unreasonable hatred that can exist between husbands and wives. Depending on the time of history, audiences tend to side with either the captain or his wife. The captain's insistence on "male perogatives" makes it sometimes seem that his wife's scheming brings him his just deserts. At other times, he seems a tragic victim of a diabolical female who, in the course of the play, is even told by the Pastor and the Doctor that she is a monster.