The story, adapted by screenwriter Thomas Vinterberg, its structure, and much of the language remain true to the film: a family gathers to celebrate the 60th birthday of the family patriarch. His youngest son, Christian, makes a dinner speech accusing the father of molesting him and his twin sister throughout childhood. (The sister has recently committed suicide, and her ghost haunts Christian and the other relatives.) The festivities turn into a nightmare of accusations and counter-accusations. Amidst the feast’s finery, lies are exposed and the guests are suspended between doubt and indignation. But it is left to the closing scene to determine whether the accusations are the product of Christian’s fevered imagination or an expression of literal truth.
In Grzegorz Jarzyna's production, however, "two long tables laid out at right angles, brings to mind not just Chekhov but a whole range of Shakespeare plays: Hamlet obviously, with its theme of buried family secrets, but even more specifically, Macbeth, with the sense of a ceremonial banquet thrown into disarray through the intrusion of ghosts from the past" (The Guardian). The play's first 2001 Warsaw performance (with stellar cast of Poland's most respected tespians) turned into one of the most important events of the season.
St. Ann's Warehouse
38 Water Street, Brooklyn, NY
Premium $50.00, Regular $35.00
or by phone at the box office: 718.254.8779