New York multiple OBIE and Bessie Award winning writer/director/choreographer David Gordon continues his investigation of the metal folding chair, a career-long preoccupation, in a new production of Ionesco's classic 1958 play, The Chairs. Gordon will perform the work with his partner of more than 40 years, Valda Setterfield, together with company members Karen Graham and Guillermo Resto. An old couple perform half remembered steps and stumbles as they bark and banter, and savor and sing the text, visible on pages and cards and fortune cookie strips of paper, and toss their words away as soon as they’ve been heard. The words fly. The chairs fly. The commissioned film-style score by Bang on a Can composer Michael Gordon intensifies as the percussive sound of tossed chairs accelerates. Designer Jennifer Tipton creates, with light, the space the couple inhabit which becomes packed with discarded words and an unimaginable number of chairs.
A brief description of the plot:
Disturbing, yet humorous, Ionesco’s 1958 French play, The Chairs, conveys a non-sensical view of human struggle. An ancient couple live in isolation and one evening they organize an enormous reception, inviting imaginary guests from around the world. The plan goes awry when the chairs arrive aplenty, but the guests who fill them are invisible. Finally an Orator appears in the flesh, whom the couple realizes can deliver an important message to the guests that is meant to save humanity, which brings the couple a sense of liberation. They throw themselves out the window. The Orator, alone, opens his mouth to address the crowd. Nothing comes out.