Chairs_quick_press_26 (1)

The Chairs

by Eugène Ionesco, translated by Donald M. Allen

The Walnut Street Theatre Studio 5
September 6 – 25, 2016
Directed by Tina Brock

Running time is approximately 70 minutes, with no intermission.

Old Woman
Tina Brock
Old Man
Bob Schmidt
The Orator
Tomas Dura

Set Design

Lisi Stoessel

Lighting Design

Robin Stamey

Costume Design

Erica Hoelscher

Old Man’s Costume

Brian Strachan and Rufus Cottman

Assistant Costume Designer

Jessica Barksdale

Sound Design

Tina Brock

Technical Director

Scott Cassidy

Stage Manager/Board Operator

Molly Jo Gifford

Box Office Manager

Justin Howe

Lighthouse Crew/Chair Wranglers

Sam Eli and Tomas Dura

Ways and Means Coordinator

Bob Schmidt

Photoshop Magic

Bill Brock


Johanna Austin /


Donna and Divo by Liz Goldberg /


The Chairs (2016)

2016 Philadelphia Fringe Festival Review: ‘Eugène Ionesco’s The Chairs’ at Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium
“...razor-sharp production...hysterically funny, deeply disquieting, award-worthy performances...thoroughly engaging...Brock and her IRC team “bring good nothingness to life” as they tackle Ionesco’s message head-on, with full-throttle force and an unmatched comprehension of the absurd that will make you laugh till you cry, then haunt you long after you leave the theater….”
--by Deb Miller, DC Metro Arts
The Chair (2016)

Philly Fringe 2016 review: Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium’s ‘The Chairs’
Stand up for Ionesco's 'The Chairs'
“...truly sublime...a 80-minute delight,..”
--by Mark Cofta, Broad Street Review
The Chair (2016)

Independent coverage of Philadelphia theater and arts
THE CHAIRS (Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium):
2016 Fringe review 8
“...a must-see revival...half-madhouse, half-circus—rendered under Brock’s direction less in the grim key of tragedy, but an octave higher, as farce…”
--by Lev Feigin,
The Chair (2016)

The Chairs — Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium, Walnut 5
“...Brock’s current production of “The Chairs,” part of both the Fringe Arts Festival and a regular Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium run, is a truly grand achievement — funny, entertaining, stylish, and piercing at once…Ionesco is not easy to bring to the stage, as worthy and as welcome as his plays are when they emerge. Brocks sees through absurdity to the more essential things Ionesco is saying, and saying so well. She, thank goodness, avoids daft for daft’s sake and finds Ionesco’s core while also skillfully mining his humor and giving her audience a good time…”
--by Neal Zoren,
The Chair (2016)

Director’s Notes

Greetings! Welcome to our “lighthouse at the edge of a watery nighttime universe.” We’re honored to share Ionesco’s beautiful and tragic world with you. It was the experience of seeing The Chairs performed many years ago that began my love affair with this extraordinary playwright. It felt like a trip to the circus. The excitement was overwhelming, the language, the wordplay, the Old Man’s story, beautiful. Soon into the show, I abandoned my need make sense of it all, and let the play wash over like a typhoon. Excited and exhausted, laughing and crying, my seven year-old self had been conjured again, and the experience was liberating. This specific trip to the theater altered my concept of the world and my place in it.

In 2009, the Old Man and I journeyed to experience Exit the King on Broadway, and was again beside my seven year-old self, a kid at the circus. What an extraordinary gift for the designers, performers, and the audience to create together a magical island where anything is possible, where we have the luxury of becoming a kid again for a few hours. The Old Woman encourages the Old Man to reveal his message in The Chairs because “it’s in speaking that ideas come to us, words…and then we, in our own words find perhaps everything…the city, too, and the garden and we are orphans no longer.” Working on The Chairs a second time has proven to be a similarly transformative experience to the 2009 production. Our world is a profoundly different world today, a mere 7 years later. For the next two weeks, in venues tucked here and there throughout Philadelphia, over 160 messages will be shared and we’ll all be richer for having experienced this festival and these stories together. Thank you for supporting theater that Brings Good Nothingness to Life.

Enjoy your festival experience!
Tina Brock
Producing Artistic Director