The Chairs by Eugene Ionescu (Eugen Ionescu), translated by Martin Crimp

To continue in the absurdist vein, this one-act play by Eugene Ionesco from the 1950s breaks with all theatrical conventions. An elderly couple receive invisible guests and distract each other with stories, half-remembered memories and the occasional sharp dig at each other. Although theatre-goers could not quite agree about the message of the play, to me it represents the futility of all attempt to make sense of life and the perennial human longing for connection and to be understood.

First performed in French as Les Chaises in 1952. Published in translation by Faber & Faber, 1997

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