Art And Culture

Ionesco’s Tragic Farce

Ionesco’s Tragic FarceIonesco’s Tragic Farce

Iranian playwright, designer and theatre director, Taliyeh Tarighi is staging ‘The Chairs’, adapted from a Eugène Ionesco’s play with the same name at Iranian Artists Forum.

An absurdist play by the celebrated Romanian playwright, written in 1952, it concerns two characters,  ‘Old Man’ and ‘Old Woman’, frantically arranging chairs for a series of invisible guests who “are coming to hear an orator reveal the Old Man’s discovery.” It is implied that this discovery is the meaning of life, but it is never actually said. The guests supposedly include “everyone”, implying everyone in the world, Honaronline reports.

The old couple then commits suicide by throwing themselves out of the window. They claim that life couldn’t get any better at this point because the whole world is about to hear the Old Man’s astounding revelation. As the orator begins to speak, the invisible crowd assembles in the room and the real audiences in the theatre discover that the orator is a deaf-mute.

At the end of the play, “the sound of the audience fades in.” Ionesco claimed that this sound was the most significant moment in the play.

Tarighi said she is interested in 20th century’s writers for their avant-garde styles, moving away from classic bourgeoisie authors. “The Chairs is among such plays.”

She described the show as “Ionescoian theatre” noting one of the most prominent features was “giving a new dimension to the subjects on stage.”

The story is visualized by the caricatures the director has used which symbolize the characters with whom the old man and woman communicate. The so-called Ionescoian theatre is a subject show, because “there is a special attitude towards the subjects”.

Many of the elements of the play are marked by innuendos. This sense of irony contributes to the show’s absurdity.

The performance is Tarighi’s thesis in puppet theatre and her instructor was Dr. Ahmad Kamyabi Mask, writer, translator, publisher and Professor Emeritus of Modern Drama, a prominent scholar of French avant-garde theater.

Earlier, the play was selected at the 13th International Festival of Students’ Puppet Theatre (2014) and competed in the fifth edition of the BABEL International Performing Arts Festival (2015) in Romania.

The play will run through August 9 at the forum’s Entezami Hall.