Spanish premiere Language: French (with Spanish subtitles) Country: Switzerland Approx. duration: 1 hr 40 mins (no interval)
I remember a very playful person; writer and, in a way, a character in his plays. He was a man who was a mix of intelligence, intuition and innocence.
- LUC BONDY on EUGÈNE IONESCO
Luc Bondy (Zurich, 1948), the artistic director of Vienna's Wiener Festwochen festival since 2001, is recognised internationally for his meticulous stage direction and his masterly understanding of the theatrical process. He was just 17 when he met one of the leading figures of the Theatre of the Absurd, playwright Eugène Ionesco (Slatina, Romania, 1909 - Paris, France 1994), while he was working as a translator on one of his works, Victimes du Devoir (Victims of Duty). Now more than 40 years later, Bondy revisits Les Chaises (The Chairs), a piece written by Ionesco in 1952 portraying the emptiness of old age in which the lack of human communication becomes a tragi-comedy.
Interestingly, Bondy himself now brings an older eye to a production which he first brought to the stage as a novice director in 1972. It features an elderly couple in their 90s, at home in their big old house, endlessly going over the same old stories. More and more chairs visibly fill the stage as the couple welcome a host of invisible ghosts to their tales.
Two young actors, Dominique Reymond and Micha Lescot, play the parts of the old couple - a choice very much to the liking of Ionesco, explains Bondy. This new version of Les Chaises premiered on November 29 last year at the Théâtre Nanterre-Amandiers in France.