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Posts Tagged ‘Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium’

Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium Peels Back the Layers of This Absurd World

Posted May 18th, 2018

“The absurd is not in man…nor in the world, but in their presence together”—Albert Camus

Each Fringe Festival, the Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium’s entry into the Fringe Festival is one of the first shows on the schedule and one of the most frequently performed. After several years exploring the works of French avant-garde playwright Eugene Ionesco (Rhinoceros [2014], Exit the King [2015], The Chairs [2016], Bald Soprano [2017]), the absurdist theater company switches its 2018 Fringe Festival attention to Tennessee Williams with a staging of his seldom-performed The Eccentricities of a Nightingale, September 4–23,  at The Bethany Mission Gallery. First though, IRC pads their Festival budget this Sunday, May 20, with a special one-night performance of Raw Onion 2018: Comfort Food.

The cast of IRC’s Raw Onion 2018: Comfort Food.

An annual tradition  at L’Etage Cabaret since 2008, Raw Onion stages commentary pieces from satirical magazine The Onion.

The show traces its history to acting classes in the early ’00s. “We began testing out material from magazines: editorials mostly, to see how the thoughts on the page held up/could be adjusted slightly for drama and comedy,” says Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium artistic director Tina Brock. “One of our favorite characters was the alter ego of Herbert Kornfeld, an employee in the accounts receivable department at Midstate Office Supply [in a fictitious Onion column]. A guy in class worked up one of Herbert’s monologues, it was ridiculous. We continued to test out this material in class, figuring out how to activate the words that were written to be read.”

IRC contacted The Onion for permission rights to perform pieces from the commentary section. Now the challenge lies in selecting material to illustrate the current gestalt, where real-world headlines feel drawn from the pages of The Onion.

“Since the election, selecting material for the IRC seasons (both Onion and regular mainstage season) has become a different challenge,” explains Brock. “Since the daily news is far more absurd than anything the IRC could present, the question becomes what is the response to that, as opposed to illustrating the thing. It would be a daunting task to outdo theatrically the current political situation.”

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Tonight! Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium Opens “Exit the King”

Posted September 1st, 2015
The Royal Scam: (clockwise from left): Patricia Durante as Queen Marguerite, Robb Hutter as King Berenger, Anna Lou Hearn as Queen Marie, Jenna Kuerzi as Juliette in Eugene Ionesco's classic.  Not pictured: Susan Giddings as The Doctor, Bob Schmidt as The Guard. Photo by Johanna Austin.

The Royal Scam: (clockwise from left): Patricia Durante as Queen Marguerite, Robb Hutter as King Berenger, Anna Lou Hearn as Queen Marie, Jenna Kuerzi as Juliette in Eugene Ionesco’s classic. Not pictured: Susan Giddings as The Doctor, Bob Schmidt as The Guard.
Photo by Johanna Austin.

One of my favorite groups of absurdists (and the one that gives me the greatest problems with proofreading) is back! Tonight, the Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium returns to preview its latest dive into the absurd with Exit the King. The play opens Wednesday, September 2 and runs through September 20.

First staged on Broadway in 1968, New York Times critic Clive Barnes called Exit the King a “masterpiece . . . incomparably, Ionesco’s greatest work.” Exit the King tells the story of megalomaniacal ruler whose incompetence has left his country in near ruin. Despite the efforts of the Queen and the loyal members of his court to help him reconcile his remaining time, he refuses to relinquish control, attend to matters at hand and make peace with his destiny. The play saw few productions in the 40 years following its 1968 premiere until a stunning Broadway production in 2009, directed by Neil Armfield, featuring Geoffrey Rush in the lead role for which he won the Tony Award for Best Actor. The critically-acclaimed revival also featured performers Susan Sarandon, William Sadler, Lauren Ambrose, Andrea Martin and Brian Hutchison.

Exit the King was conceived during a period of illness when the author was consumed with fears of death. The playwright’s inspiration was borne from a childhood obsession that one could avoid being sick and simply live forever: “I told myself that one could learn to die, and that I could learn to die, that one can also help other people to die. This seems to me to be the most important thing we can do, since we’re all of us dying men who refuse to die. This play is an attempt at an apprenticeship in dying.”

Watch the beautiful cast pose below, while thinking about how to die lively, and think about which show you’re going to hit up. (Pro tip: opening night (Wednesday, September 2, aka tomorrow) has “wine and such.”)

Exit the King preview is tonight at 7:30 pm ($10-15). Opening night is tomorrow at 7:30 pm ($20-25; 9:00 party), and then runs Tuesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 2:30 pm, through September 20. All shows at Walnut Street Theatre Independence Studio on 3, 825 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. Tickets here.

Prequel: Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium’s “The Castle”

Posted September 6th, 2013

Prequel, prequel, what have you? Many chances to catch IRC’s interpretation of Franz Kafka’s The Castle at the 2013 Fringe Festival.




IRC’s The Castle runs every day now through September 22 at 2nd Stage at the Adrienne, 2030 Sansom Street, 2nd Floor, Rittenhouse Square. Times vary, $10-$25.

–Nicholas Gilewicz