The French prodigy, who won an Oscar for The Father, talks about The Forest, his labyrinthine new drama following a man whose life unravels after an affair

Florian Zeller has made a speciality of disorienting his audiences. Last year, the skilfully blurred timeline of The Father, based on his own Alzheimer’s-inspired play, landed him an Oscar for best adapted screenplay, along with a best actor award for Anthony Hopkins. Yet the French playwright and director’s new work, The Forest, about to have its world premiere at Hampstead theatre in London, may be his most disconcerting yet.

“I tried to create a maze,” Zeller says over Zoom from his home in Paris. On stage, scenes repeat themselves with micro-variations: different actors may or may not be playing the same person. “The goal wasn’t to lose people in this forest. It was to put them in a confusing situation and let them piece it together.”

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