-Courtesy of Perpetual Motion PR
Quintessence Theatre Group, Philadelphia’s professional classic repertory theatre, begins Season XIII: Celebrating the Extraordinary with Eugène Ionesco’s The Chairs. Directed by Quintessence’s Artistic Director Alexander Burns, The Chairs, full of absurdist philosophy, witty wordplay and slapstick comedy, starts previews September 28, with an Opening Night Saturday, October 1 at 7:30 p.m. Visit www.QTGrep.org or call 215.987.4450 to purchase tickets.
The search is finally over. The “Meaning of Life” has officially been found. You are cordially invited to a remote island where an elderly couple welcomes you to participate in a zany evening of laughter, tears, and philosophy…?! Eugène Ionesco wrote this Absurdist tour de force for a cast of thousands one year before Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot took the world by storm with its evocative juxtaposition of vaudeville and existentialism. A timeless tragic farce, The Chairs will have you on the edge of your seat.
“Our thirteenth season is a celebration of the “extraordinary” in theatre, and The Chairs is exactly that. Quintessence is excited to join forces with two of Philadelphia’s finest classical actors and comedians, Frank X and E. Ashley Izard, as we welcome Ionesco to our stage,” says Quintessence Artistic Director Alexander Burns, “As one of the foremost playwrights of the Theatre of the Absurd, Ionesco’s humor, anger and philosophy feel more at sync with America in 2022 than ever before. If you enjoy metaphysical philosophy, physical comedy, dark humor and the power of the theatrical imagination, The Chairs promises to be a theatrical tour de force you’ll never forget.”
Barrymore Award Winnners Frank X (Quintessence’s Waiting for Godot and Little Women, Lantern Theater’s A Man for All Seasons, Othello) stars as the Old Man, and E. Ashley Izard (Quintessence’s Happy Days, Long Day’s Journey into Night, Wizard of Oz, Hamlet) joins forces as his wife, the Old Woman. Alex Olson makes his Quintessence’s debut as the Orator.
The production will include scenic and sound design by Alexander Burns, lighting design by John Burkland and costume design by Kelly Myers.
Eugène Ionesco was born in Slatina, Romania, in 1912. Before he wrote plays, he was a French teacher and published essays and reviews in literary journals. After World War II ended, Ionesco moved with his family to Paris. While working as a proofreader, he had the idea for The Bald Soprano (1953) based on learning to speak English by the Assimil conversation method. The indifference of this antiplay’s initial audience spurred Ionesco to quickly write a series of short experiments. It was through writing The Chairs (1954) that Ionesco began exploring the metaphysical side of farce, a contribution which separated him from his Absurdist contemporaries Samuel Beckett and Jean Genet. Later plays, such as The Killer (1958), Rhinoceros (1959), and Exit the King (1963) would focus on indirect and comic critiques of fascism. Ionesco married Rodina Burileano, and they had one daughter born in 1944 named Marie-France. He died in 1994 and is buried in Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris.
British playwright Martin Crimp was born in 1956. His play Attempts on Her Life (1997) established his international reputation. Other works include: The Treatment (1993), a a dark satire about the film industry, which won the John Whiting Award; The Rest Will Be Familiar to You From Cinema (2013), which was loosely inspired by Euripides’ Phoenician Women; and When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other (2019), “provoked” by Samuel Richardson’s epistolary novel Pamela. Crimp has also collaborated with composer George Benjamin on three operas: Into the Little Hill, Written on Skin, and Lessons in Love and Violence. His many translations of French plays include works by Genet, Ionesco, Koltès, Marivaux, and Molière.
As we continue to live with COVID-19, Quintessence Theatre requires that masks be worn at all times inside the theatre.
General Admission tickets are $30 – $49.
Youth tickets (21 and under) are $20.
Tickets for active military service are $25.
Seniors (65 and over) receive $5 off the ticket price.
Upgrade to premium seats for an additional $10 per ticket.
STUDENT MATINEES: Weekday student matinees are available at a discounted student rate. To book your classroom’s visit, contact Educational Programs Manager Daniel Ciba at 215.987.4450, ext. 106, or Daniel@QTGrep.org.
GROUP SALES: Special rates are available for groups of over ten. For information on group sales, please contact the Box Office at 215.987.4450, ext. 1, or BoxOffice@QTGrep.org.