The Chairs

Bonjour City,

This week marks our 10th anniversary at Bergamot! In 2010 we packed up and moved out of our longtime space in an alley off the Third Street Promenade — which decades before really had served as a municipal garage for official City of Santa Monica vehicles. We then took up residence in a new neighborhood and started working in a completely new space. Some things definitely changed!

But what remained the same were so many of the things you love about City Garage — the challenging new texts; fun, invigorating takes on classic plays; and a relentless engagement with the biggest issues of the day.

We promise that as soon as we’re able to re-open, we’ll quickly return to producing the kind of work that only City Garage can create! Please enjoy this brief look back at some of our history:
History of City Garage (10 Years at Bergamot Station)-Happy Anniversary

For this week’s “City Garage Classic” we’re very happy to bring you one of our last productions in the alley space — “The Chairs” by Eugene Ionesco, which I adapted in 2009. Here is how we described the show then:

After a lifetime of preparation, Monsieur le Concierge will at last deliver his ‘message’ to a select audience. As he and Semiramis prepare for the event, the couple gets as lost in their memories of the past as they are consumed by their dreams of a future that seems increasingly unlikely to arrive. As so often in Ionesco, we laugh at the same time as we wince with pain, recognizing ourselves.

KCRW’s review said, “Michel delivers a vision of The Chairs that is clear and accessible… an absurdist play that remains both daring and timeless.” The review in Backstage lauded the actors, saying that thanks to their strong performances, “we are graced with the production’s surprising emotional impact—a rare treat in an increasingly absurd world.”

“The Chairs” will be showing on our City Garage YouTube channel from Friday through midnight Wednesday. Please share the link with your friends:
The Chairs-CG Classic Series

It is free to view, but if you enjoy it can you make a donation through our Chuffed page to support City Garage?

Merci to our kind contributors from this last week:

Roger Director
Ravi Narasimhan
Eva Peel from Spec Script Marketplace
Peggy Flood

Stay safe and wear a mask!

Love,

Frederique

“The Chairs”, by Eugène Ionesco (translated by Frédérique Michel), originally ran at City Garage in 2009. It was directed by Frédérique Michel and with Production Design by Charles Duncombe.

The cast was Cynthia Mance, Bo Roberts, and Garth Whitten.

What the Critics Said in 2009:

KCRW:
“Michel delivers a vision of The Chairs that is clear and accessible. The director needs no gimmicks since the two lead actors, Cynthia Mance and Bo Roberts, play Ionesco’s Husband and Wife (and their many guests, ranging five decades in age) with both focus and dedication….a sober presentation of an absurdist play that remains both daring and timeless.”

BACKSTAGE:
“As with the best of couples, Mance is the physical comedian—turning the wife into a lively, clowning companion—while Roberts makes the husband the true romantic, fully real in his quiet adoration of his wife and a former flame….we are graced with the production’s surprising emotional impact—a rare treat in an increasingly absurd world.”

From our original press release:
Welcome to the magical world of Semiramis and Monsieur le Concierge, Marchal of the building. They are preparing for an evening event at which, after a lifetime of preparation, Monsieur le Concierge will at last deliver his “message” to a select audience. As they fetch and carry, fuss and fight, the couple gets as lost in their memories of the past as they are consumed by their dreams of a future that seems increasingly unlikely to arrive.

The empty room slowly fills with a ballet of chairs and visitors while the couple get more and more nervous in anticipation of the “Orator”—the man they expect to actually speak on his behalf.

This absorbing fable hauntingly explores the ideas of love, loss, frustrated ambition, and the fear of death that so permeates the work of one of the great masters and innovators of 20th century drama. As so often in Ionesco, we laugh at the same time as we wince with pain, recognizing ourselves.

(Left to right): Cynthia Mance. Bo Roberts photo: Paul Rubenstein

(Left to right): Cynthia Mance. Bo Roberts photo: Paul Rubenstein
(Left to right): Bo Roberts, Cynthia Mance photo: Paul Rubenstein