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Quintessence Theatre Group Presents Eugène Ionesco's THE CHAIRS This Month

The production starts previews September 28, with an Opening Night Saturday, October 1 at 7:30 p.m.

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.


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