With RashDash’s Oh Mother heading to Soho Theatre, motherhood is increasingly on the theatrical landscape. Meanwhile over at the sparkly new Brixton House, French company Babel are exploring what it means to be a father today. It was a subject that Simon Stephens, Scott Graham and Karl Hyde interrogated in Fatherland, particularly the notion of however far away you try to get from your father eventually there comes a point in life when he stares back at you from the mirror. Babel’s show doesn’t look back, but forward. In a piece based on intimate interviews with fathers in diverse French households, it asks what fatherhood means today, how it is evolving and whether the bonds between fathering and the patriarchy can be unbound.
Two actors have been asked to do a study on the topic of the family. They carry out all the accounts they have collected, starting with their own generational history – a touching approach. Their journey into the various family landscapes stems from the words expressed by the women (who were the first volunteers in this study), and then reaches across to the words expressed by the men. How do we exist as fathers today? From doting fathers to pater familias, the Babel company investigates. Created and written using interviews, Fathers opens the doors of French households from diverse immigrant backgrounds. On stage, two actors take on the stories collected and paint a series of portraits, weaving new discourses. Little by little, a question emerges: how can we imagine fatherhood outside of patriarchy? How does one become a father today? Little by little, a question emerges: how can we imagine fatherhood outside the patriarchy? New narratives emerge in which the question of gender equality is also that of gender emancipation and a greater general inventiveness of the roles and postures of each. With the support of the department of Seine-Saint-Denis.