An out director is behind one of the biggest hits of this year’s Stratford Theatre Festival. Jennifer Tarver, who directed a hit production of Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape at Stratford, in 2008, and in Chicago, in 2010, this year took on Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming.
The foreboding work, which premiered last week, tells the story of a man who returns after several years’ absence to his wildly dysfunctional childhood home, still lorded over by his aging father, played by two-time Tony Award-winner Brian Dennehy.
The reviews have been stellar, with both the Star and The Globe and Mail giving the production four out of four stars. The Star’s Richard Ouzounian called it “bleakly brilliant,” while The Globe’s J Kelly Nestruck declared it “pitch-perfect.”
“Obviously, I’m very happy with the production and the response it’s getting,” says Tarver. “The cast have been simply tremendous. I was blessed to have an ensemble this strong.”
Dennehy had praise for Tarver at the opening-night party: “She is quite simply a brilliant director,” he said.
While the play has very dark overtones, Tarver says she sees it as “a very funny comedy. There’s a great deal of humour in it as well as the messy family dynamics.”
The Homecoming runs until late October at the Stratford Theatre Festival.