In its first appearance at the Elgin Fringe Festival, Independent Players will present Eugene Ionesco’s The Bald Soprano (1950) a hilarious unique satire on the ordinary English middle class. In this play, Mr. and Mrs. Smith talk to each other at cross purposes, while their guests, Mr. and Mrs. Martin, fail to understand and the Maid and a Fire Chief enter the fray, and get nowhere at all. The Bald Soprano inspired a revolution in dramatic techniques and helped inaugurate The Theatre of Absurd. From its first production, and especially now in the 21st Century, it reveals the decay of modern man and the futility of meaningful communication in contemporary society. Inspired by the cliché dialogue between the imaginary Mr. and Mrs. Smith in an English phrasebook for beginners, Ionesco rejected the coherent plot, character development and the concept of realistic drama, and created his own form of comedy to convey “the tragedy of language” in a universe ruled by chance (which is still extremely relevant today). The abuse of language through infinite quantities of information, the impossibility to process all of the messages one receives in the form of instant messaging, texting and “express journalism” (The Huffington Post model of cheap and quick news) make it extremely difficult for one to separate what information is important from what is not. The result: one of the truly funniest comedies ever written.
Performances will be presented at Imago (216 Prairie Street, Downtown Elgin) Thursday through Sunday, 9/17 (at 10 PM), 9/18 (at- 5:30 PM) 9/19 (at 3:30 PM) and 9/20 (at 11 AM).
Image Credit Note: Book cover and back cover image on The Bald Soprano: translated by Donald A. Allen, with “typographical interpretations” by Massin and photos by Henry Cohen published by Grove Press Inc. in 1965.