Theatrical adaptation of The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
Two brothers, the younger one aged about 6-8 and the older one 10-12 years old, whose father is an actor, have to go to work with their father and watch the play he is acting in because their mother is suddenly called away to do something. But because the play is for adults and they can’t sit in normal seats, their father arranges for them to watch the play hidden in the left-hand side of the wings, out of sight of the audience.
The play, which their father has translated and adapted for the theatre from one of his favourite books, is about a seventeen-year-old who is stuck in hospital after a nervous breakdown caused by his expulsion from school.
The right-hand side of the stage is transformed into a hospital ward, and the hero comes out into the central part of the stage where he acts out the episodes of his three-day adventure at school and in New York after his expulsion. Two technicians change the scenery for his episodes while the hero performs a monologue in the hospital room, where he has returned for the scene change to take place.
The children watch and comment on what is happening. Sometimes they sympathise with and pity the hero, but at other times, like when he comes face to face with their father, they are angered by his behaviour.
And although they easily recognise their father behind the disguises of the many different roles he plays, they find it difficult to recognise that all (apart from one) of the female roles are played by the same beautiful young actress. Although their father tries to explain to them that all the roles he plays are essentially one – the thing standing blocking the hero’s path to maturity, knowledge and love – and that all the female roles are essentially one – that of the mother – they find it difficult to understand.
In the theatre bar during the interval, the two children meet the director of the play, who is a friend of their father’s. He tries to explain some of the hidden messages in the play to them and to give them some information about the author of the book it is based on. As they enjoy their crisps and orangeades, the children’s father, with the help of the director and the complicity of the older brother, plays a joke on the younger brother that gives him the opportunity to wonder innocently about the theatrical experience and the actors.
At the end of the play, all the participants gather around a table in a restaurant and the masks fall.