Spielzeit 26.08. - 09.10.

Les Chaises – The Chairs

Play by Eugène Ionesco French with English surtitles

guest performance

Stage and Lighting Design
Karl-Ernst Herrmann
Eva Dessecker
artistic adviser
Botho Strauss
Sounds and Music
André Serré
Make-up and Hair
Cécile Kretschmar
artistic co-operator
Geoffrey Layton
Thierry Aveline

Poppet and Semiramis, he 95, she 94 years old, bask in the memory of past pleasures in order to escape the desperation and boredom of their everyday lives.

They tell each other stories from their lives about dead children, abandoned mothers and missed career opportunities. In the isolation of their lives in the middle of a lake, which in Bondy’s production is a big puddle lapping onto Karl-Ernst Herrmann’s stage, praise and enthusiasm gradually turn into mutual recriminations.

The couple are waiting for a professional speaker and other – unseen – guests, in order to pass Poppet’s thinking on the meaning of existence on to the world to come. The two old people cling to each other and to the hope that Poppet can save the world with his message. They prepare hastily for the visit and set out chairs, for Presidents, scholars, policemen and psychiatrists will be welcomed. Meanwhile the audience also find out about the history of the couple’s marriage, the impossibility of communication and the emptiness in the endless circle of life. The seats remain unoccupied, apparently no-one wants to hear the message of joy to mankind. In close proximity to his model Samuel Beckett, Ionesco reveals the emptiness of human existence and life’s absurdity.

The work’s focus on life and death and on the vanity of human effort is a highly individual reflection on the main theme of this year’s festival, Buddhism.

A production of Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne

In co-production with:
Théâtre Nanterre-Amandiers
Wiener Festwochen
Equinoxe, Scène nationale de Châteauroux

Supported by Fondation Leenaards.

The Text is published in the Edition Gallimard, collection Folio.