Festen is a dark piece of work. If you get a kick out of a group of people being horrible to each other for an hour and a half, then this play may be for you.
Andrea Moor directs this stage adaptation by David Eldridge of the Danish film by Thomas Vinterburg. Vinterburg co-founded the Dogme 95 movement along with Lars von Trier, which attempted to establish a stripped-down way of making film, requiring the directors to use only available light, sound and props, limited post production and action that takes place in real time. As such, the script of Festen seems like it would translate relatively easily from screen to stage.
Dysfunctional doesn’t even begin to describe this family of weirdos with rampant personality disorders. Not a single one of them is likeable or seems to possess any redeeming qualities. The notable exception is the play’s protagonist, Christian (Henry Hammersla), who dares to reveal the truth about the family. Also the Little Girl (Emma Diaz) manages to stay above the fray, but of course she doesn’t have any lines and simply flits about bedecked, head to toe, in innocent white.