Tenuously straddling the intersection between reality and fantasy, The Illusion, French playwright Pierre Corneille's Baroque masterpiece, debuts at the award-winning Open Fist Theatre Company.
Written in 1636, the play was considered far ahead of its time with its use of meta-theatricality, or "plays-within-a-play." The Illusion follows a repentant father seeking word of his prodigal son. With the help of a sorcerer, he witnesses three vastly different visions of his son that blur the line between love and hate, truth and fiction, illusion and certainty. Only when the divergent tales conclude does the father confront the ultimate - and unexpected - truth about his son.
David Bridel, whom the Los Angeles Times calls "one of the most inventive, scholarly, and vastly challenging voices on the current theatrical scene," directs the play, which was translated by Ranjit Bolt and is produced by Martha Demson. Bridel is Associate Director and Head of Movement at USC School of Theatre's MFA program and Commedia dell'Arte Movement Specialist for the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.
"I have long admired The Illusion, a play of great mystery that investigates the art of the theatre," said Bridel. "I love the fact that comedy, tragedy, truth and trickery are so closely entwined in the play that it's often impossible to separate them; I think that the paradoxes at the heart of this piece are part of its magical appeal."