Ellie Williams, director of SUDS’ latest theatrical offering, on why this week’s play is one to see…

This week, in the Debating Chamber, the Drama Society presents ‘The Chairs’; a tragic farce by defining absurdist playwright, Eugene Ionesco. A contemporary of Samuel Beckett and forerunner of Harold Pinter, Ionesco was one of the most important contributors to the ‘Theatre of the Absurd’.

‘The Chairs’ is set in a house composed entirely of doors on an island to which a boat service runs twice on Sunday mornings and once on Sunday evenings, where a very old couple are hosting an important party.

Throughout the play, the characters known as Old Man and Old Woman, welcome an array of guests into their unusual home; all of them equally valued witnesses to the great event that is about to occur, all of them intensely colourful characters and all of them also invisible.

As the ancient couple engage in private games, relive half-remembered stories and entertain their impalpable charges, the play becomes more and more preposterous and disturbed, heading towards its final, spectacular anti-climax.

‘The Chairs’ is performed by fresher Beth Cannon and Second Year Ben Shaw (star of SMUTS musical ‘Anything Goes’) and directed by me, Ellie Williams, in what I hope will be an ambitious and adventurous tour-de-force!

We have had great fun putting this play together, building tragic but humorous characters and crazy set alike. The play offers two virtuoso roles for student actors, who not only have to inhabit the decrepit physicality of their characters, but simultaneously show their childish, vulnerable regressions and sexual fantasies. Beth and Ben are rising to this challenge admirably and I look forward with excitement to our three performance nights.

‘The Chairs’ runs from Wednesday 19th to Friday 21st in the Debating Chamber. Doors at 7.30pm and tickets cost £5.

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