Cutting Ball Theater continues its 14th season with Eugene Ionesco's THE CHAIRS, in a new translation by Rob Melrose. This tragic farce, in the tradition of Cutting Ball's hit productions of Ionesco's The Bald Soprano (2010) and Victims of Duty (2008), is as comedic as it is heartbreaking. Annie Elias (Tenderloin) directs THE CHAIRS, featuring David Sinaiko, Tamar Cohn, and Derek Fischer, March 1 through 31 (Press opening: March 7) at the Cutting Ball Theater in residence at EXIT on Taylor (277 Taylor Street) in San Francisco. For tickets ($10-50) and more information, the public may visit cuttingball.com or call 415-525-1205.
THE CHAIRS follows an elderly couple who pass their time in an abandoned seaside building playing private games and telling each other half-remembered stories. Adrift in a world of their own, the Old Man resolves to convey his wisdom to a lifetime of friends, but while the Old Woman frantically sets out chairs, all of their invited guests appear to be imaginary. An eccentric meditation on the human condition, THE CHAIRS humorously blurs the line between fantasy and hallucination as the couple's game becomes their reality. Melrose's new translation offers a fresh take on this absurdist masterpiece.
"After such a tremendous reception at Cutting Ball last season with Tenderloin, I am delighted to return to direct The Chairs," said director Annie Elias. "With this new translation of Ionesco's classic tragic farce, we pay homage to his declared aesthetic sources; some may find it surprising that Ionesco was inspired by Charlie Chaplin, The Marx Brothers, Buster Keaton, Laurel and Hardy, as well as cartoons. At the same time, the play conveys a pathos and humanity beneath the surface antics. Written in 1952, The Chairs is just as relevant and poignant, and humorous, today as it was when it was penned."
"I am very excited about The Chairs," said Cutting Ball Artistic Director, and translator, Rob Melrose. "After our successes with Ionesco's The Bald Soprano and Victims of Duty, we are doing a new translation of one of Ionesco's best plays. Annie Elias, who did such marvelous work with her actors in Tenderloin, directs this production, which is entirely dependent on having two excellent actors interacting with a host of provocative, but invisible, characters. I can't wait to see what Annie does with her production of this masterful play."
Cutting Ball Theater has assembled a trio of talented actors for THE CHAIRS. An Associate Artist at Cutting Ball, David Sinaiko (Old Man) most recently appeared in the company's productions of Strindberg Cycle: The Chamber Plays in Rep, Tenderloin, Lady Grey (in ever lower light), The Tempest, Krapp's Last Tape, ...and Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi, The Bald Soprano, Victims of Duty, and Endgame. Other Cutting Ball credits include The Taming of the Shrew, As You Like It, The Sandalwood Box, Ajax for Instance, Macbeth, 365 Plays/365 Days, Woyzeck, Chain Reactions, and RISK IS THIS...The Cutting Ball New Experimental Plays Festival. Additional credits include productions at Golden Thread Productions, Crowded Fire Theater, and SF Playhouse; Sinaiko has been seen at the Goodman Theatre, The Actor's Gang, and in the popular Bay Area one-man production of David Sedaris' SantaLand Diaries. He was a founding member of Chicago's New Crime Productions.
Tamar Cohn (Old Woman) was last seen at Cutting Ball in the RISK IS THIS... The Cutting Ball New Experimental Plays Festival staged reading of Trojan Barbie. Regional credits include productions at Theatre Rhinoceros (100 Saints You Should Know), Brava Theater (The Oldest Profession), Center REPertory Company (Witness for the Prosecution), The Jewish Theatre (2 x Malamud: The Jewbird and The Magic Barrel), and California Conservatory Theatre (Incorruptible). Additional credits include productions at AlterTheater Ensemble, Playwrights Foundation, Woman's Will, 6th St. Playhouse, and Pacific Alliance Stage Company, among others.
An Associate Artist at Cutting Ball, Derek Fischer (Orator) appeared in the company's productions of Pelleas & Melisande and The Bald Soprano, and was seen in The Insect Play as part of the Hidden Classics Reading Series. Additional credits include productions at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, California Shakespeare Theater, PianoFight, and the Bay One Acts Festival.