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IRC Announces 2020 Season

Two seldom-performed plays: one by dazzling Irish storyteller Enda Walsh, one by Pulitzer-winning American playwright Tennessee Williams, plus a remounting of the IRC's 2017 Fringe success from the grandfather of Absurdism usher in the Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium's 2020 season, their 15th in the Philadelphia region.

The Bald Soprano by Eugene Ionesco, February 6 - 16, 2020

The Bethany Mission Gallery, Philadelphia Theatre Week

Opening night is Thursday, February 6 at 7:30 pm. This re-envisioned remount of the 2017 IRC production will feature updated costume and set design, celebrating the wild and free-spirited 1960's with ample nod to the unspooling of communication post 2016 US Presidential election. Unraveling amid two hundred works of outsider art, the collection will be open to the public prior and following each evening's performance. The Bald Soprano will run for eight performances, Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 pm February 6 -8 and February 13-15 and Sundays at 2:30 pm February 9 and 16. Tickets: https://baldsoprano.bpt.me.

Since 2014, the IRC has presented Ionesco audience-favorites Rhinoceros, Exit the King and The Chairs. The Bald Soprano was Ionesco's first play, created while attempting to learn English from a primer. Ionesco believed he was writing a tragedy, but audiences responded otherwise. The play has been in continuous performance since 1957 at the Théâtre de la Huchette in Paris, and holds the world record for the show that has played non-stop in the same theatre. The nearly 18, 000 performances of The Bald Soprano have been seen by over 2 million spectators.

The IRC 2020 production features the 2017 cast: Sonja Robson and John Zak as The Martins; Tomas Dura as Mary, the Maid, and Tina Brock and Bob Schmidt as The Smiths. Carlos Forbes joins the cast as The Fireman. Tina Brock directs.

The New Electric Ballroom by Enda Walsh, June 9 - 28, 2020

The Walnut Street Theatre Independence Studio on 3

Opening night is Thursday, June 11 at 7:30 pm. Enda Walsh's The New Electric Ballroom is described by The Guardian as "...shiver-down-the-spine...a beautiful and devastating play of broken hearts and maimed lives..." by The New York Times as "...(a) most intoxicating and original piece of writing....keeps us on edge as we await the answer, a prickly sense of doom waxing and waning... affirms Mr. Walsh's growing reputation as a contender to take his place in the long, distinguished line of great Irish playwrights..." and Broadway World as "...weird, challenging, disturbing, completely

engrossing, crazy brilliant... with The New Electric Ballroom, Walsh confirms himself as one of the most dazzling wordsmiths of contemporary theatre, and one who has a direct conduit to our wanting hearts."

The IRC production will feature Mary Pat Walsh and Tina Brock as sisters Clara and Breda; Kirsten Quinn as younger sister Ada, Kevin Bergen as the fishmonger Pasty. Peggy Mecham Directs.

The New Electric Ballroom will run Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sunday at 2:30 pm,

June 9 through June 28. Previews are Tuesday, June 9 and Wednesday, June 10 at 7:30 pm.

The Two-Character Play (Outcry) by Tennessee Williams, September 8 - 27, 2020

The Bethany Mission Gallery, The Philadelphia Fringe Festival 2020

Opening Night is Thursday, September 10 at 7:30 pm. In The New York Times review of the 2013 production at New World Stages, Ben Brantley describes the show, featuring Amanda Plummer and Brad Dourif as"...a rarely-seen fever dream of an eternal folie à deux...they don't just strike sparks. They're a raging conflagration that keeps changing form and direction...low on plot and high on poetry, and it presents the painful spectacle of a talented, desperate mind chasing itself in circles."

In a 1971 interview Williams said of The Two-Character Play, "I wrote it when I was approaching a mental breakdown and rewrote it after my alleged recovery. I was thoroughly freaked out...it is my "cri de couer... my most beautiful play since Streetcar."

John Zak and Tina Brock will tackle the roles of Felice and Clare, the brother and sister performing act who arrive at the theater to discover that the troupe they have been traveling with has abandoned them. This means they will have to do the only appropriate work in their repertory, "The Two-Character Play." a Southern Gothic affair, in which a brother and sister named Clare and Felice spend their lives as prisoners in the rotting house where their parents met a bloody and melodramatic end. Tina Brock directs.

The Two -Character Play will run Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 2:30 pm from September 8 - 27, with previews on Tuesday, September 8 and Wednesday, September 9 at 7:30 pm.

The Bethany Mission Gallery will be open one hour prior to curtain for audiences to view the Gallery's vast collection of outsider art. Tickets and information: 215,285.0482 or the IRC website: www.idiopathicridiculopathyconsortiium.org.

Season 2020 marks The Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium's 15th season presenting rarely-produced absurdist gems from authors around the globe. Known for their humorous and thoughtful interpretations of seldom-seen works, the IRC's 2019 season included critically-acclaimed productions of Tennessee Williams' The Eccentricities of a Nightingale, Christopher Durang's Betty's Summer Vacation and William Inge's Come Back, Little Sheba.

The IRC is a 501C3 non-profit organization, and a member of The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance and a participant in the Barrymore Awards, a program of Theatre Philadelphia. The IRC's 2020 season is funded in part by generous grants from from The Bayard Waker Fund of the Independence Foundation; Wyncote Foundation; The Philadelphia Cultural Fund; The Charlotte Cushman Foundation; The Virginia Brown Martin Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation, The Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts program of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, with support also provided by PECO and administered regionally by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance and the Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia.

IRC Season 2020, #15 marks the second year of the IRC's expansion of the company's season to three mainstage shows, two of three presented in the historic Bethany Mission Gallery, 1527 Brandywine Street in the city's Spring Garden Neighborhood.


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