Taken from the plays, playlets and poetry of “Theatre of the Absurd” playwright Eug√®ne Ionesco (Rhinoceros, The Bald Soprano, Exit the King), Ionescopade is a zany musical vaudeville featuring mime, farce and parody ‚Äì all hilariously balanced on the edge of madness.
Composer/lyricist Mildred Kayden was Ionesco‚Äôs guest in his Paris apartment while creating the work, and they remained friends until his death in 1994. “Ionesco was always very loving and warm,” says Kayden, now 90. “He always insisted that life is funny. We need to look at life and find the humor in it, or we can‚Äôt take it.”
“Ionescopade is a vaudeville, so it‚Äôs episodic, fast moving, a little naughty and very, very funny,” explains director and choreographer Bill Castellino. “When I first approached it in 1981, I saw it as an entertaining, silly evening of non-sequitors. Thirty years later, it all makes a new kind of sense. The world around the play has changed. Continuous access to information, multi-tasking and endless news cycles make seeming non-sequitors normal in daily life. Like a true piece of art, Ionesco‚Äôs work lived during his time, and now it continues to live in other periods.”
He continues, “Ionesco wrote during and after WWII in France, and his plays are impacted by the Nazi occupation, repression, informants, paranoia and liberation. Now, in a post-911 world, these topics resonate afresh, and that‚Äôs fascinating to me. Humanity uses laughter to survive oppression. Ionescopade shines light on this very human resilience.”
Performances of Ionescopade take place on Fridays and Saturdays @ 8 pm and Sundays @ 2 pm*, May 31 through August 11. (*On Sunday, June 2 only, the performance will be @ 5 pm with no 2 pm matinee.) Additional weeknight performances are scheduled on Wednesdays @ 8 pm on June 19, July 17 and July 31, and on Thursdays @ 8 pm on June 13, June 27, July 11 and July 25. Tickets are $30, except opening weekend (May 31, June 1 and June 2) which are $34 and include a reception with the actors. The Odyssey Theatre is located at 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West Los Angeles, 90025. For reservations and information, call (310) 477-2055 or go to www.OdysseyTheatre.com.