Father: A one woman show

Updated: Sep 2, 2019

We talk to Francesca Bartellini, writer and performer of Father, produced by Ipazia Production, Rome. Francesca is performing every evening at Greenside Venue, Infirmary Street, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019. They then hope to tour it to venues in the UK, in Europe and beyond!


About the show: What is your show about? 

FATHER is a one-woman show in which three lives are interconnected by abuse on different levels. It’s been described by Joyce McMillan, a renowned writer here in Scotland, as a play where “in the dense poetic structure there a haunting vision of a world destroyed by patriarchal attitudes taking some kind of watery revenge on the whole of humanity” – which I rather like!


I have been writing about our climate and the destruction of the planet for quite some time. The script for Father is based on a friend of mine’s real experiences. When my friend was telling me her story. I could see a wider perspective.


The performance it is always evolving. That’s the great beauty of making live work; it’s immediate and it’s influenced by audience reactions, wherever and whenever it’s performed. I am also making plans to make a film version and it already has a companion – Madre (or Mother), an installation performance piece, which I have presented at the Contemporary Museum in Naples – and the museum is known too as Madre!


Development: How did you realise that the show would end up being concerned with sustainability and carry this message about our environmental impact on the planet?


Although it’s an intimate story, I wanted it to have a mythical scope. The personal experiences of the child and parents, I saw reflected in our wider relationship with Mother Nature and the evolving tragedy of our climate.


It was an amazing opportunity to lift the story to a metaphorical level and I hope that people can realise how much our civilisation, so male-oriented, is influenced by men killing their female side, their female soul (their daughter) in order to be so aggressive and against nature. The Father of my play wants to save the Earth: he believes Man is the cause of impending disaster; therefore Man (he) should provide the solution. But he is lost in his own delusion because he was the first to commit a crime having abused his own daughter.


I want this play to stress another vision of reality. In order to change things we need to change ourselves. And art can play an active role in this. In the dark, you are confronted with another human being’s feelings in that precise moment. No technology. This is so vital for getting in touch with our deeper emotions and confronting fears and difficult subjects.


What have been the highlights and difficulties of developing the show? 


I had a very rewarding production period including some work-in-progress presentations here in Scotland – at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow and some great feedback from other theatre makers, audiences and critics. My production IPAZIA is wonderful in supporting new provocative works such as mine.


I have taken on a lot myself obviously, so sometimes it feels as if I should have lots more support and bigger budgets but maybe all artists would say that and money has very little to do with ideas and true creativity…


Tips and tricks: What can emerging artists do to be more eco-friendly?


Question all the decisions they make while developing work – for example, is this the most effective way of communicating my ideas and with the least environmental impact? …


Artists, producers, theatre companies, theatre buildings and audiences [all have a responsibility to make theatre more sustainable] – it’s a truly collective responsibility…


Whose work inspires you to be more environmentally sustainable? 


The work of people who are growing their own food in an organic way. I live part of my time in a beautiful countryside near Tuscany and many people are doing so. If you respect Nature and your body you are creating Peace around yourselves and the community.




Watch Father


Daily till 24 August at 20.50 at Greenside @ Infirmary Street

Info and tickets :

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