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Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium Presents A Virtually Existential Dinner Conversation

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Absurd, abstract and intriguing, revealing the passions and purpose of creators in our community and around the country, these are the conversations happening weekly at the virtual dinner table on Into the Absurd: A Virtually Existential Dinner Conversation presented virtually by The Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium, the Philadelphia-based theater company whose mission is to present absurdist theater to audiences in the Philadelphia region.

The idea for A Virtual Dinner Conversation grew out of the desire to stay connected to IRC audiences, artists and the community during this time. It has been a longstanding goal of the IRC to gather creators and artists for weekly conversation about the purpose that drives their work. That goal, changing course due to the pandemic, birthed a virtual incarnation which explores the who, what, when, where and why of the passions and the people in our community and beyond.

Each Saturday at 5:00 pm host and IRC Producing Artistic Director Tina Brock gathers on Zoom and Facebook Live! with a guest for 50 minutes to explore what it means to live and to think about art now, in this time of existential uncertainty. Audience are encouraged to bring a beverage, their curiosity and questions. There are three options to join in: by signing up for the IRC's email list on the IRC website at www.idiopathicridiculopathyconsortium.org where audience members receive an email each Wednesday announcing the guest for the upcoming week; by streaming on Facebook Live at the IRC's Facebook page @IdiopathicRidiculopathyConsortium @ 5 pm, or by visiting anytime the IRC's YouTube channel, where past conversations are archived, at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCc7NYk0ZSkujKEwq1jvz78w. The Saturday @ 5 pm conversation will continue each week into 2021.

A Virtual Dinner Conversation is the next step in the Into the Absurd trajectory which began with the IRC's live theater precursor titled Into the Absurd: Readings and Conversation @ L'Etage Cabaret launched in April 2016.

The reading series featured Edward Albee's work The American Dream; The Witnesses by Tadeusz Rozewicz; The Radio Plays of Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter, and Tennessee Williams' A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur. Into the Absurd was developed in response to audience requests for more opportunities to experience seldom-performed classic and modern works from this genre. A post-reading unstructured conversation offered an opportunity for exchange of ideas and inquiry. Into the Absurd gathered live @ L'Etage during seasons 2016-2017, where the IRC presented its first production at the 2006 Philadelphia Fringe Festival.

In an introduction to Absurd Drama (1965) Martin Esslin writes, "The Theatre of the Absurd attacks the comfortable certainties of religious or political orthodoxy. It aims to bring (the audience) face to face with the harsh facts of the human situation as these writers see it. But the challenge behind this message is anything but one of despair. It is a challenge to accept the human condition as it is, in all its mystery and absurdity, and to bear it with dignity, nobly, responsibly; precisely because there are no easy solutions to the mysteries of existence, because ultimately man is alone in a meaningless world. The shedding of easy solutions, of comforting illusions, may be painful, but it leaves behind it a sense of freedom and relief. That is why, in the last resort, the Theatre of the Absurd does not provoke tears of despair but the laughter of liberation."


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