Performed by Magnetic North’s artistic director Nicholas Bone and Traverse associate artist and playwright Rob Drummond, the play is the first theatrical adaptation of Father and Son, Edmund Gosse’s Victorian memoir about growing up as the only child in an evangelical Christian family. The book explores the growing gulf that emerged between Edmund and his father – a preacher and renowned scientist – as he realised he couldn’t share his father’s beliefs.
When his own clergyman father suggested he should read the book, Nicholas Bone assumed it would reveal something about their relationship. Similarly, Rob Drummond, another son of a clergyman, is also looking for answers to a big question of his own.
Coming to Peebles on 18 November as part of a national tour, the play skilfully weaves together Edmund Gosse’s story with the experiences of the two performers on stage. Although Father and Son is a fairly dense text, its accounts of a son’s growing rebellion against his father’s beliefs are also very funny – a humour celebrated in the play.
At a time when political discussion and social media interaction can be increasingly divisive, one theme that is explored is how people can disagree respectfully with each other, without resorting to abuse.
The play also challenges audiences to share in the investigation into the relationship between parents and children, and how it’s possible both to grow apart yet also remain close. One underlying message is that it can be very hard to have an honest conversation with a loved one.
As Nicholas Bone remarked in a recent interview, “We think that – as everyone has had a parent, or been a child – there is a way into the show for everyone. We want the audience to leave feeling satisfied with the stories that we’ve told them, but we don’t want to try and give anyone any answers; we want them to leave still thinking and asking themselves questions.”
Our Fathers is performed at the Eastgate Theatre, Peebles at 7.30pm, Saturday 18 November. Tickets £14, available from Box Office on 01721 725777 or online.