Viewing page 12 of 41

This transcription has been completed. Contact us with corrections.


by Harry Haun

Time has not been kind to the theatre of the absurd, overtaking it, turning avant-garde into apres-garde - and, with the ebb and flow of various vogues, that supreme absurdist Eugene Ionesco quietly receded on the world's stage horizon.

[[image - color photograph of Richard Briers]]
[[image - color photograph of Geraldine McEwan]]
[[photographs by]] JOAN MARCUS
[[caption]] Richard Briers and Geraldine McEwan star in Ionesco's absurdist classic [[/caption]]

Turns out, though, the sleeping giant was just taking a short nap.  The power of his art is such that it only took a cracklingly good bolt back to life and fashion, for that's what struck London last November when Theatre de Complicite and the Royal Court jointly presented a brilliant production of The Chairs (in a new translation by Martin Crimp), directed by Simon McBurney and starring Richard Briers and Geraldine McEwan. Critics found themselves cheering the ressurrection of Absurdism, a genre whose time has come - again.
Even more startled by the show's success are its two stars, the hardest-working sixtysomethings in show business.  "We still can't believe we're here doing this on Broadway," confesses Briers.  "That's our second surprise. Our first was when we realized we had something important on our hands rather than, as Gerry said, 'a fringe product.'"
"That's right," pipes up his playing partner, cheerily seconding the motion. "We thought it was just going to be four weeks on tour and four weeks at the Royal Court, and that would be it. We were truly taken by surprise by the reaction to it. From the word go, there was something right about it."
One thing indelibly right about it is the impeccably timed teamwork of these two - "a pair of old troupers still at the peak of their powers," as one reviewer put it - and that highly exportable pleasure is something rarely seen outside London's West End. Briers has never been on Broadway before, and McEwan was last here 30 years ago in a Peter Schaffer double bill, The Private Ear and The Public Eye.
Television has spread their respective fame stateside - "The Good Life" for him, "Mapp and Lucia" for her - and Kenneth Branagh has done his part to increase their visibility on the feature-film front, finding places for them in his Henry V. He also cast Briers in Much Ado About Nothing, Frankenstein, In the Bleak Midwinter and Hamlet; and he opened up the door to directing for McEwan.
"That's something, isn't it? - to say you've directed Kenneth Branagh." It is obvious she takes pride in the feat. "When he started off his Renaissance Theatre

CLUE #6 - FOR PHOTO #6 ON PAGE 6: The revival of this Edward Albee play featured riveting performances by Rosemary Harris, Elaine Stritch and George Grizzard.


For 450 years the finest spirits have shared a common spirit: Puerto Rico

Rums of Puerto Rico. Enjoy the Spirit!

Since 1548, Puerto Rico has been producing the finest rums. Today, over 11 fine rum brands are made in Puerto Rico. Enjoy your favorite brand, straight or mixed, and discover the smoothness that only comes from a 450 year heritage of producing the finest rums.

Puerto Rican Rum.
Make sure it's on the label.

Ask for them by name: Ron Bocoy, Ron del Barrilito, Don Q, Palo Viejo and Ronrico among others.
The finest times are the ones you enjoy responsibly.

Only the Finest rums come from Puerto Rico
El Convento Hotel, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

(C)1998 Rums of Puerto Rico / Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company. All rights reserved.