Take your seat

Villanovan Editor

An elderly couple banters inside a lighthouse surrounded by stagnant water.

The two commence their hosting duties by setting up chairs for a special party, at which a speech will be given that will supposedly forever change the world.

However, upon the party guests’ arrival, it becomes obvious that something isn’t quite as it seems.

This is the premise for the opening play of the 2006-2007 season of Villanova Theatre.

“The Chairs,” written by Eugéne Ionesco, is a surreal comedy that takes place in an unknown future and is classified under the Theatre of the Absurd movement in Europe. Joanna Rotté, former chair of the Villanova Theatre Department and current theatre professor, directs the show. In addition to having directed several other Villanova Theatre plays, Rotté has appeared in “Prayers of Sherkin,” “The Visit” and “By the Bog of Cats” on the Vasey stage. She also writes for “Soul of the American Actor,” a quarterly published in New York.

The play features a former and current Villanova student in its leading roles. Stephen Patrick Smith is a graduate of the University’s theatre program and has appeared in “Prayers of Sherkin,” “The Visit” and “Endgame.”

Smith also won the 2005 Barrymore Award for Outstanding Ensemble and Outstanding Movement/Choreography for his direction of “Tuesday” for Amarylis Theatre Company.

Graduate theatre student Marcie Bramucci has appeared in “Fred and Jane,” “Prayers of Sherkin” and “Our Town.”

The screenplay itself was written shortly after World War II and exhibits the devastating emotions felt by most of the world at that time. The focus of play is on an eccentric couple isolated from the world outside their lighthouse.”The Chairs” premiered in 1952 in France, where the playwright spent most of his life earning himself a prominent place in the Theatre of the Absurd movement. Ionesco received awards not only as a playwright, but as an author and painter until he died in Paris in 1994. This is the perfect time to take advantage of the shows by Villanova’s theatre department, as Villanova’s recently inaugurated president, Rev. Peter Donohue, O.S.A. plans to create a greater awareness and appreciaiton of the theater arts department on campus. Even before becoming president, Donohue was comitted to expanding the theatre arts program at Villanova. He hopes to eventually build a new performing arts center to house the department several years down the road.”The Chairs” opens this Tuesday and runs through October 8. Show times are 8 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday and 2 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. Tickets for students are $7, faculty, staff and alumni are $10 and regular pricing is between $18 and $24. Tickets may be ordered at the Villanova Theatre Box Office at (610) 519-7474. For more information visit www.theatre.villanova.edu.