Ionesco Suite

October 15 - 19, 2014

Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare

from Eugène Ionesco
directed by Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota

The Creative Process

Shortly after having directed Rhinoceros, following stagings of Love’s Labor’s Lost and Six Characters in Search of an Author, a series of works that were designed for very large stages, Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota brought together all his actors in Reims to read texts by Ionesco. 

"The actors were seated around a table, some chairs right and left, reading, improvising, sharing lines, I just sat listening, watching them and taking pleasure in rediscovering each one of them, letting myself be fascinated and loving them, with no particular goal that day, no obligation to immediately produce a work for the stage, no scheduled opening."

Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota then decided to continue this experiment and launch a research process around Ionesco, through which each actor could develop their own feelings and imagination. He suggested a design in which the actors would be in close contact with the audience.

"I wanted to watch them closely, to become intimate, to imagine the audience amongst us, and to let everyone experiment freely, dare the unforeseen and the unprecedented, experiment the part which they might never be offered. They were free to play another sex, another age, another world. This allowed each one of them to surprise us, to show things we had never seen in them, that we didn’t suspect. I told them: Suggest, dream, the form will follow in due time. In the end our research became the very material for a performance and once put on stage, the object of public gathering. Ionesco Suite could have lasted 6 hours."

Some themes were selected: social conventions, which are here [in France] connected with different meals (family, wedding, birthday), the fear of being, of being together, alone, of speaking, of not hearing one another… all this guided our steps, one after the other, until we put together a first version, then another and yet another. We have reached the fifth version which is still evolving.

Ionesco Suite has brought together a part of the company which Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota has been working with for over ten years. Many of them were part of the staging of Shakespeare’s Love’ Labors Lost in 1998, almost all have taken part in his productions of Pirandello, Brecht, Horvath, Vitrac or Melquiot.

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