BAM presents Théâtre de la Ville's hilarious Ionesco Suite

BAM presents Théâtre de la Ville's hilarious Ionesco Suite

Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota and seven actors from his Théâtre de la Ville put five Ionesco plays into a blender and serve up a potpourri of absurdity, hilarity, befuddlement, and witticism. Demarcy-Mota, whose affinity for 20th-century playwrights was masterfully displayed in three previous BAM engagements (Rhinoceros, 2012 Next Wave;Six Characters in Search of an Author, 2014 Next Wave; State of Siege, 2017 Next Wave), returns with a boldly conceived and delicately executed production. Framed as a buttoned-up family dinner that sinks into no-holds-barred inebriation, the scenes and texts of Jack, or The Submission; Delirium for Two; The Bald Soprano; The Lesson; and Conversation and French Speech Exercises are chopped up and reassembled into this constantly surprisingIonesco Suite.

After staging a monumental Rhinoceros, Demarcy-Mota wanted to create a presentation that further explores Ionesco in a pared-down design that can be performed anywhere. With just a long table and a few chairs, Ionesco Suite strings together short scenes from different plays that convey Ionesco's major themes: the absurdity of human existence, the arbitrariness of languages, and the exercise of power. The show has traveled to many French schools and was staged at Chicago Shakespeare Theater in 2014 where it earned the praise of the Chicago Tribune: "It is a pleasure to see actors who understand Ionesco so fully and who are so capable of remaining so fully in the moment."

Théâtre de la Ville was created in 1968 under the auspices of the City of Paris. Dedicated to "art in the diversity of its theatrical, choreographic, and musical forms" as stated by its founder, Jean Mercure, Théâtre de la Ville has over the years become one of the most important cultural landmarks in Paris, mostly through its multidisciplinary and international productions in theater, dance, and music. Théâtre de la Ville is funded by the City of Paris and, with its two venues-a 1,000-seat hall (currently under renovation) in the heart of Paris and the more intimate 400-seat theater in Montmartre-offers close to 100 different programs each season. It collaborated with BAM on Brooklyn/Paris Exchange (2016 Next Wave), a cross-cultural programming initiative featuring The Civilians, nora chipaumire, Yoann Bourgeois, and Company Wang Ramirez.

Awarded with France's highest honor, the Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur in 2012,Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota was the youngest artistic director of Théâtre de la Ville when he was appointed to the position in 2008. He has further diversified the audience by introducing productions in foreign languages, educational activities, and programs for young people. During the renovation of its principal venue, Théâtre de la Ville maintains its multidisciplinary program throughout a network of 20 partner venues in Paris and its surroundings. Demarcy-Mota is also director of Festival d'Automne à Paris.

Photo credit: Agathe Poupeney

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