There is something inherently sad about an empty chair, filled as it is with a very real sense of negative space; the space of the sitter who goes with the chair, a sitter who is absent. Although each is a unique exploration in form, this sense of missing something is inherent in all of the three shorts which make up Les Chaises.
Clearance by Fiona Whitelaw starts proceedings in a stylish fashion, Sharon Enav’s direction bringing a prickly tension which melts convincingly into a life affirming friendship to the strong but sometimes sentimental text about a daughter facing her father’s ghost personified by his large red chair. Sue Lenier’s Foreplay is a more acerbic look at a marriage which has gotten stuck, it’s painful humour brought out well by Amy Skilling’s deft direction although it does not always feel entirely comfortable in its own skin. To complete the trio we have the wonderfully bizarre Attempts on a Missing Chair by Mary Mazzilli which quite frankly defies description except to say that it’s about two old people and a janitor and their self-destructive, strangely mesmerising small existence. Attempts is performed with great panache by Mark Huhnen, Jennifer Pearcy-Edwards and Alex Kanefksy.
The pieces are all a bit hit and miss with the red chair in Clearance being the only object imbued with any power, however they are all touching discussions of loss and reconciliation and Attempts especially will blow you out of the water with it’s brave experimentation in form and charismatic performances.
Les Chaises will be coming to the Lion and Unicorn Theatre in September – for full tour details please see below: