Absurdity abounds in...Dramaworks production 'The Chairs'
Palm Beach Dramaworks' specialty is mounting plays it deems have been unjustly neglected. Eugene Ionesco's The Chairs is a classic of absurdist drama - a school that arose after World War II that emphasized the meaningless of life and the futility of human communication. Dramaworks' production features veteran performers Dan Leonard and Barbara Bradshaw in what's virtually a madcap duet with an invisible cast of thousands. Bradshaw delivers an incandescent performance as the adoring wife who nonetheless repeatedly reminds her husband that he hasn't amounted to much and unabashedly cuckolds him with one of the guests. Leonard inhabits his role with daffy fervor. Michael Amico's chilly set feels so real you can almost smell the damp emanating from the faux cement walls. Equal praise can be lavished on Erin Amico's slatternly costumes, Todd Wren's dramatic lighting design and Steve Shapiro's evocative sound design. The Chairs treads a fine line between the comic and the tragic - rather like life itself. This production, steered with precision and heart by J. Barry Lewis, plays up the humor, which makes the absurdist disenchantment go down easier. It's a wild ride and a splendid piece of theater.