Written by: David Eldridge.
Directed by: Rufus Norris
Cast: Larry Bryggman (Helge), Ali MacGraw (Else), Juliana Margulies (Helene), Michael Hayden (Christian), Jeremy Sisto (Michael), John Carter (Granfather), Diane Davis (Pia), Keith Davis (Gbatokai), David Patrick Kelly (Poul), Stephen Kunken (Lars), Meredith Lipson (Little Girl), Ryan Simpkins (Little Girl), Carrie Preston (Mette), Christopher Evan Welch (Helmut) and C. J. Wilson (Kim).
Synopsis: A beloved patriarch, surrounded by his wife, his daughter, his two sons and a host of family and friends, is celebrating his 60th birthday at his country home. This promises to be a very special occasion, but as the evening progresses, the man's eldest son, Christian, feels compelled to break the silence surrounding a family secret. Standing to propose a toast, he offers his father - much to the delight of the guests - an amusing yet simple choice. And so the games begin. Revelations and accusations tumble across the dinner table, paving the way for a celebration that no one will ever forget.
What the critics had to say.....
BEN BRANTLEY of the NEW YORK TIMES says ï¿½The big moments that are supposed to generate shivers and gasps feel lukewarm and unfulfilled. And you never sense the damning connectedness of these people...Otherwise, this empty house is still waiting to be haunted.ï¿½
CLIVE BARNES of THE NEW YORK POST says "David Eldridge's dining-room trage dy-comedy 'Festen' - that's Danish for "celebration" - is an odd duck. Carefully, indeed brilliantly, coached by the director, Rufus Norris, the production that opened last night at the Music Box flaps its histrionic wings to some major effect, but it remains odd and it remains a duck."
HOWARD KISSEL of the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS says "Plays about skeletons jumping out of family closets were once startling. "Festen's" revelations seem merely musty."
MICHAEL SOMMERS of STAR-LEDGER says "A preposterous melodrama about something rotten in Denmark, "Festen" is a stinking misconception on Broadway."
JACQUES LE SOURD of JOURNAL NEWS says "Festen" is Strindberg without the nuance or the real drama seething just below its cool surface. It is simply cool, and all surface. Meant surely to be disturbing, the play never gets near your emotions. Ian MacNeil did the chic design work, which ultimately is dominated by one long dining table. The people sitting down at it are certainly about to have a bummer of an evening. Whether the chic crowd that attends the show will also suffer is debatable. The play's subject may be incendiary, but the payload, this time, is a dud."
LINDA WINER of NEWSDAY says "Engrossing, aching, classic-Greek inevitability of the family dynamics. The shocker itself is not likely to surprise audiences numbed by the din of dysfunctional-family melodramas of the last decade. What gives the revelation its shiver creeps out from the visceral emotions amid the formalities of the gathered clan."
MICHAEL KUCHWARA of ASSOCIATED PRESS says "As one of the main characters says midway through "Festen," the English import based on a Danish film that has arrived on Broadway with an American cast: "Welcome to this curious birthday party". "Curious" is not the half of it. Think "unlikely," "unsavory" and, at times, "unwatchable" because of some flagrant miscasting. In other words, "Festen," playing at the Music Box Theatre, is no cause for celebration." "
FRANK SCHECK of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER says "Ultimately, there's a fussiness to the staging that is at odds with the extremity of the emotions on display. Rather than being the lacerating experience it intends to be, this production seems more interested in showing off its bravura technique."
External links to full reviews from newspapers