Why fathers and sons make great theatre


From the medieval Mystery Plays through Hamlet to Christopher Shinn's excellent Now or Later, now at the Royal Court, fathers and sons give good play. The dynamic between a man and his boy has provided me with some of the most memorable moments of my theatregoing life, and it's easy to understand why.

Transformations are at the heart of theatre. As some guy called Stanislavski said, they are best achieved by overcoming obstacles. A father faces some of the biggest obstacles in psychology and society when he tries to transform his overwhelming feelings about his son into a healthy relationship.

However cliched it may sound, women are both more inclined and more encouraged to reinforce and rearticulate their emotions with each other. Observing fathers and sons tackle their feelings on stage doesn't just come across like monkeys trying to use tools for the first time, it feels like discovering monkeys trying to master Black & Decker Decor Mate Multi Drills.