Blue Raincoat theatre company to tour Ionesco's The Chairs

Blue Raincoat theatre company to tour Ionesco's The Chairs

Director Niall Henry discusses the fêted production

After a five-year tug of war over rights, Sligo-based Blue Raincoat arrives in Scotland this month with its fêted production of Eugene Ionesco’s The Chairs. Director Niall Henry, who co-founded the company in 1991, is thrilled about the tour and cites The Chairs as one of his favourite plays.

‘What’s exemplary in some of Ionesco’s work was the intention to work against what some people would view as traditional theatre, in terms of plot structure and character development,’ he says. ‘His plays are very metaphorical. They have an appearance of being normal but they don’t follow normal lines so they become very immediate for the audience.’

Blue Raincoat has been lauded for its absurdist productions, and Henry has his own theory on why this genre appeals to the company. ‘I think it’s a west of Ireland black humour thing,’ he laughs, ‘it’s that sort of sensibility that us put upon Irish think is funny. I think other people find it a bit absurd but the problem is we don’t find it as absurd as everyone else. So maybe it’s just a cultural thing.’

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Thu 7–Sat 9 Jun; Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Wed 13–Sat 16 Jun.

The Chairs

Ireland's Blue Raincoat Theatre Company are masters of physical theatre; here they take on Eugene Ionesco's absurdist parable about how you just can't get a decent orator anymore.

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