A family production not for the family!

Ushered into a waterless goldfish bowl theatre for what was to be much more than a Royal Exchange, we sat still and tiny on tall chairs. Later what felt like giants flicked the glass, as we in the audience were unable to ask them, ‘Please stop’.

The production came punching with promise and parental protection. Evoking deeply diverse, sometimes dark paternal practices, presented proudly in culture and cuts.

The questions from the men who mused them in melancholy melodies and minimalist music, resounded with relevancy and relatable rhetoric: ‘What is your earliest memory of your father?’

Fear spoke from shadows and stories of men melting into a rising damp rust. A gas fire death for a man that cooked. Graphically gruesome and violent, with naturally raw spatters of songs, beating as blood would. 

Dad dancing is not supposed to look like this. Slothful and sinister. 

There were firemen fathers. Flying fatherhood. Fearful fathers. Fathers of pride. Fathers who say "fuck off". The death of innocence, with paternity by your side.

The scripting and sonorous sounds sync to wrap around those there. We walked into something sounding like prayers. We fell through ska and string to find ourselves amongst acapella courage mixed with corrosive customs of Fatherhood.

There was an emotional dissonance that those who identify as men are sometimes known to recede with.

There was reference to thought translators. Pointless for monkeys but essential for shining paternal light on emotional intelligence.

We don't know how to say I love you. We just try our best.

Fatherland was without women in presence or reference. Incongruous considering without women, fathers could not claim that name.

I was saddened by the places and acceptance this play did not go. But simultaneously I was left wounded by the places and vehement hostility that it did. Left tripped out on testosterone, I felt the dread. The fight or flight fury. The cold of the dead. (CM)

- Clare McNulty


What does being a dad mean? - Guardian

The Dark Side of Emotional Intelligence - The Atlantic

Ape Translator - Cloudy with A Chance of Meatballs