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Eugene Ionesco's The Bald Soprano at The Bethany Mission Gallery
Bethany Mission Gallery
Philadelphia, PA
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Eugene Ionesco's The Bald Soprano at The Bethany Mission Gallery
The collapse of reality, a tragedy of language: classic Absurdism freshly conceived!  Ionesco awash in a world gone awry -- causality means nothing, numbers don't add up, names have no validity, existence is surreal.  A comedy for our time, at Bethany Mission Gallery, the ultimate evening of Idiopathic outsider art!

Tina Brock
Tomas Dura
Arlen Hancock
Sonja Robson
Bob Schmidt
John Zak

Directed by Tina Brock

Translated by Donald M. Allen

September 5 through 24

Bethany Mission Gallery
1527 Brandywine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130

Tickets: $15 - $25 or call 215.285.0472 or email

Preview Performances (9/5, 9/6) - $15
Opening Night (9/7): $25
Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday - $22
Friday, Saturday & Sunday - $25

Tuesday through Saturdays at 7:30, Sunday matinee at 2:30 pm

Seating is limited.
Doors open one hour before performance.
Early arrival is encouraged to allow enough time to tour the gallery.

Inquire about student, senior, industry and group discounts.

IRC. We bring good nothingness to life.

~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~

Alternative Facts, Communication Gone Awry:
Eugene Ionescos The Bald Soprano at The Bethany Mission Gallery

September 5  24

The Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium, celebrating 11 years producing classic absurdist plays in the Philadelphia region, presents Eugene Ionescos tragicomic commentary on the futility of communication, The Bald Soprano, previewing Tuesday, September 5 and Wednesday, September 6 at 7:30 pm, opening Thursday, September 7 at 7:30 pm at The Bethany Mission Gallery, 1527 Brandywine Street in Philadelphia, as part of the 2017 Fringe Festival.

The Bald Soprano cast features IRC founders Bob Schmidt and Tina Brock as Mr. and Mrs. Smith, John Zak and Sonja Robson as Mr. and Mrs. Martin, Tomas Dura as Mary the Maid, and Arlen Hancock as The Fireman. The Bald Soprano production/design team includes Erica Hoeslcher (Set and Costume Design) and Tina Brock (Sound Design). Producing Artistic Director Tina Brock will direct. Curtain for The Bald Soprano is 7:30 pm Tuesday  Saturday, 2:30 pm on Sundays, September 5  24. Tickets are available at, the IRC box office at 215.285.0472 or through the Fringe Arts box office.

The Bethany Mission Gallery in Philadelphias Fairmount neighborhood will serve as the backdrop for The Bald Soprano. A private collection featuring over two hundred works of outsider art, the gallery will be open to the public one hour before curtain (6:30 pm Tuesday through Saturday, 1:30 pm on Sundays and one half hour following every performance). On display: an unusual collection of rare drawings, paintings and object collections including folk art, Catalin radios, antique metal toys and banks, milk glass, ceramic pot lids, posters, signage, photographs and antique toasters.

Eugene Ionescos classic treatise on the futility of meaningful communication in modern society, The Bald Soprano was the first play written by the Romanian-French playwright. Ionesco envisioned The Bald Soprano as a tragedy of language when he was inspired to write the play while attempting to learn English from a primer. Audiences responded as if he had written a comedy, and so the legend began: The Bald Soprano has been in performance since 1957 at the Théâtre de la Huchette in Paris, holding the world record for a play having been staged continuously in the same theatre for the longest span of time.

A strange phenomenon took placethe text began imperceptibly to change before my eyes... the clichés and truisms of the conversation primer which once made sense gave way to pseudo-clichés and pseudotruisms; these disintegrated into wild caricature and parody, and in the end language disintegrated into disjointed fragments of words. -- Playwright Eugene Ionesco on writing The Bald Soprano

The question was posed by many when the IRC was formed a decade ago if sufficient material existed in the absurdist canon to forge a robust future. The reality today is that life off stage is far more absurd than Ionescos plays might ever have predicted. There is illumination in his words as we struggle to hold fast to the value of the truth and meaning of language: misuse creates confusion, dissonance and distortion.

The stage at The Bethany Mission Gallery, and globally, has been set for a tragedy of surreal and highly comedic proportions.

The IRC has become recognized for humorous, accessible interpretations of classic absurdist works from Eastern Europe and around the globe. In recent seasons, the company has produced critically-acclaimed, sold-out main stage productions of Eugène Ionescos The Chairs and Rhinoceros, and Exit the King, George Bernard Shaws Misalliance and Jean Giraudouxs The Enchanted and Ondine. The IRCs 11 season will continue in February 2018 with Jean Anouilhs Leocadia (Time Remembered) at the Walnut Street Theatre Studio 5.

In an introduction to Absurd Drama (1965) Esslin writes, The Theatre of the Absurd attacks the comfortable certainties of religious or political orthodoxy. It aims to knock its audience out of complacency, to bring it face to face with the harsh facts of the human situation. The challenge behind the message is anything but one of despair. It is a challenge to accept the human condition as it is, in all its mystery and absurdity, and to bear it with dignity, nobly, responsibly; precisely because there are no easy solutions to the mysteries of existence, because ultimately man is alone. The shedding of easy solutions, of comforting illusions leaves behind a sense of freedom and relief. And that is why, in the last resort, the Theatre of the Absurd does not provoke tears of despair but the laughter of liberation.

The IRC is a 501C3 non-profit organization, and a member of The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. The IRC's 2017 season is made possible in part by generous grants from Wyncote Foundation; The Samuel S. Fels Fund; The Philadelphia Cultural Fund; The Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts program of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency with support also provided by PECO and administered regionally by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.


Bethany Mission Gallery (View)
1527 Brandywine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130
United States


Arts > Theatre

Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: No


Owner: The Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium
On BPT Since: Jan 18, 2008
Tina Brock

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