Performances play to Aug. 26 at The Shakespeare Theatre's main stage — the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre in Madison, NJ. Opening is Aug. 11.
"Inspired by Ionesco's attempt to learn English by repeating phrases like 'the ceiling is up, the floor is down,' and with William Shakespeare as one of his favorite authors, The Bald Soprano is filled with improbable language and scenarios, and fast-paced, quick-witted and seemingly extemporaneous dialogue," according to production notes. "For Ionesco, this play was his attack on conformity and on society's lack of ability to truly communicate. As a testament to the play's unique appeal and continuing relevance in an electronically dependant society that is developing its own instant message language of emoticons and anagrams, The Bald Soprano has been performing continually, each evening at the Theatre de la Huchette in Paris since 1957 — a world-record run."
Performed in "one fast-paced, hilarious act, each performance will be followed by a question and answer session with members of the cast and artistic staff."
The work of Ionesco and Samuel Beckett gave rise to the idea of "theatre of the absurd," and its qualities would influence Edward Albee, Christopher Durang and David Lindsay-Abaire, among many others over the years.
Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey previously staged Ionesco's Rhinoceros in 2000. Rumanian-born French playwright Ionesco also penned The Lesson and The Chairs. He died in 1994. Matthew Arbour directs a cast that includes Matthew Floyd-Miller as Mr. Smith, an Englishman who enjoys his English pipe and reading his English newspaper in English silence; Kelly McAndrew as Mrs. Smith; Mary Bacon and Greg Jackson as Mr. and Mrs. Martin, who arrive for dinner at the Smiths' only to discover that dinner has been eaten; Angela Pierce as Mary, the maid who believes herself to be Sherlock Holmes; and Walker Jones as The Fire Chief, who arrives at the house to put out the fire that has not started yet.
Matthew Arbour returns to The Shakespeare Theatre after directing the comedy The Rivals last year.
The creative team also includes set designer Mimi Lien, lighting designer Tyler Micoleau, costume designer Erin Murphy and sound designer Rob Kaplowitz. Broadway fight choreographer Rick Sordelet serves as fight director. Kathy Snyder serves as production stage manager.
For tickets or more information call (973) 408-5600 or visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org.
The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's main stage, the 308-seat F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, is in Madison at 36 Madison Avenue (Route 124) at Lancaster Road (on the Drew University campus).