The Chairs re-tour

2016

A trio of performers on stage. From left to right, a bald white man wearing a beige jumpsuit with his neck craned to the middle, a person wearing a full body white hazmat suit standing elevated, and an older woman with curly grey hair smiling with hands clutched.

The Chairs is an absurdist farce by Eugene Ionesco, first performed in 1952 at the Theatre Lancry in Paris, and widely regarded as a classic. Extant’s groundbreaking production of this rarely performed play, translated by Martin Crimp, cast two blind performers in the lead roles and incorporated audio description into the live performance as part of a unique soundscape. The re-tour travelled to four UK venues during April 2016: Harlow Playhouse, mac Birmingham, The Lowry and Stratford Circus Arts Centre .

An elderly couple frantically prepare chairs to welcome a procession of invisible guests to their isolated home – an uncertain space where anarchy, ageing and anxiety collide. Who is the mysterious orator they all await? And what will their world-changing message be?

The Chairs is an absurdist farce by Eugene Ionesco, first performed in 1952 at the Theatre Lancry in Paris, and widely regarded as a classic. Extant’s groundbreaking production of this rarely performed play, translated by Martin Crimp, cast two blind performers in the lead roles and incorporated audio description into the live performance as part of a unique soundscape. The retour travelled to four UK venues during April 2016: Harlow Playhouse, Mac Birmingham, The Lowry and Stratford Circus Arts Centre.

All performances were accompanied by a Touch Tour and post-show Q&A’s, as well as drama workshops that introduced visually impaired audience members to some of the key themes of the play. Alongside the tour Extant worked with the Audience Agency to conduct a research project on engagement with visually impaired audience members and the relationship between audiences, participation and venues.

If you would like to learn more about this production, look at photos and read some of the reviews, then please visit the separate microsite for The Chairs.

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