Ionesco's The Bald Soprano (2015)
Ionesco said: “we can no longer avoid asking ourselves what are we doing here on earth and how, having no deep sense of our destiny, we can endure the crushing weight of the material world…” The play is an attack against what Ionesco has called the ‘universal petty-bourgeoisie- the personification of accepted ideas and slogans, the ubiquitous conformist.
Why The Bald Soprano?
We decided to set The Bald Soprano as our first official theater project for many reasons. The most relevant is its unquestionable depth and unique vision of human relations and the meaning of society. We were particularly drawn in by our fascination with language and first-hand experiences with the trials of miscommunication that accompany the clash of cultures. We believe it is a great starting point from which to begin our debate and exploration into the absurdity of the human experience. We are particularly interested in exploring the subject of language and communication as the main theme of the play. Our work is mainly focused on that matter. What Ionesco called ‘The Tragedy of Language’ more than half a century ago is still relevant today. The abuse of language through vast quantities of information, the impossibility to process the infinite number of messages thrown to us by the ‘society of information’. Social Media, express journalism (The Huffington Post model of cheap and quick news) makes it even more difficult to separate what piece of information is important and what’s not. Also, today’s instant messaging and other ‘communication’ tools connect us with practically everyone around the globe instantly. Those tools collaborate with us having 24hrs of banal conversations, cheap and fast.
Time dictates the action. The heavy burden of time here represented by the ticking of the clock. It illustrates the end of the middle class, the death of the Welfare state all around the globe. All of this adds to the creation of a well-worn, grey, suburban social order that is lacking a vivid passion for life. Everything is OK, but nothing is OK. Today’s society resonates with that of the Post-War that the Smith’s and the Martin’s in the play represent. We are in need of good storytelling to keep us not just entertained but to keep us alive.
We also incorporate René Descartes methodic doubt into our work, knowing that his work was a great influence for Ionesco as we have learned from the beginning of our process: to put all beliefs, ideas, thoughts, and matter in doubt will help us to keep on investigating actively and strive for a wider spectrum of work.
“No society has been able to abolish human sadness, no political system can deliver us from the pain of living, from our fear of death, our thirst for the absolute; it is the human condition that directs the social condition, not vice versa”
―Martin Esslin. The Theatre of the Absurd.
The Bald Soprano was performed at a Harlem apartment, The Gene Frankel Theater and Instituto Cervantes (April-June 2015)