Theatre preview: The Chairs @ Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh & Tron Theatre, Glasgow

Published by METRO

Tonight (7 June) until Saturday (9 June), 7.30pm, £6-£17, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh.
Tel: 0131 228 1404/226 2666. www.traverse.co.uk

AND Wednesday 13 June until Saturday 16 June, 7.45pm, £15 (concessions £7), Tron Theatre, Glasgow. Tel: 0141 552 4267. www.tron.co.uk

We’re thoughtful fools, us Homo sapiens. From time to time, we’ve all wondered silly things like ‘what’s the meaning of our existence?’ and ‘is it ultimately important for us to be happy?’

Back in the mid-20th century, people wrote plays about humanity’s quest for a purpose in life. Led by dramatists such as Václav Havel, Harold Pinter and Eugène Ionesco, an intellectual movement known as the Theatre of the Absurd swept the stages of Europe.

Their works did not pretentiously dwell on high concepts such as existentialism, nihilism or Dadaism – they just ridiculed the world through ordinary, even mundane, characters and situations.

Tonight, Irish theatre company Blue Raincoat brings Ionesco’s The Chairs back to life. In this 1952 classic, an old man hopes to share his philosophy. He and his wife of 75 years live in a lighthouse on the edge of civilisation, and anxiously prepare for the arrival of their town’s leading figures to come and listen to his potentially Earth-shattering speech.

Theatre like this will be popular for as long as we try to understand where we fit in to the bigger picture, but hey – this production will only be with us for a few days.