Eugene Ionesco's absurdist classic, The Chairs, opens Aug. 16 at Seattle's Intiman Theatre, where the play kicks off the company's 2000 2001 season. Performances began Aug. 11 for a run through Sept. 9.
In The Chairs, an old man and old woman prepare for the coming of a great orator while rearranging the chairs for their invisible guests. All the while, they attempt to pass on their life experiences to the humanity gathered in the chairs. When first produced, The Chairs was loathed and ignored, but Samuel Beckett and other contemporaries defended the piece. By 1956, a revival championed by Jean Anouilh caught on, and the play was re-evaluated as a modern absurdist classic.
Ionesco's other best-known works include The Bald Soprano (1948), The Lesson (1951), Rhinoceros (1960) and Hunger and Thirst (1964).
Kate Whoriskey directs. The 30-year-old helmer, featured in the Aug. 2000 Vogue and a member of the New York Theatre Workshop's Usual Suspects, has directed Stop Kiss at Geva Theatre and The House of Bernarda Alba in Seattle.
Larry Block and Anne O'Sullivan are the Old Man and Old Woman with Myra Platt as the Orator. Drama Desk and Outer Critics' Circle Award nominee Christine Jones (The Green Bird) designed the set with Drama Desk nominee Robert Perry (The Water Engine) on lights, Frances Kenny on costumes and Eric Chappelle on sound.
Tickets are $42-$23.50. The Intiman Theatre is located in the Seattle Center at 201 Mercer St. For reservations, call (206) 269-1900. The Intiman Theatre is on the web at www.seattlesquare.com/Intiman.
The Chairs replaced the debut of Lynn Redgrave's The Mandrake Root.
-- By Christine Ehren
and Sean McGrath