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The Chairs

The Chairs


by Eugene Ionesco

The Chairs Theme of Art and Culture

The Chairs seems in many ways to be a comment on the art of theater itself. It is littered with self-referential touches and often references the fact that it is a play. This style of theater, called meta-theater, was typical of the Theater of the Absurd. This ties in closely with the theme "Versions of Reality": the audience is never allowed to forget that the theatrical event it's watching is merely a self-conscious illusion. When the play ends without definitely answering any of the questions it raises, some may wonder whether theater itself is capable of truly communicating to an audience. On the other hand, you could interpret the dislocated nature of the play as the only honest way to portray reality, making this meta-theatrical romp the closest thing to "reality" that a play can provide.

Questions About Art and Culture

  1. What moments in the play remind the audience that it is watching a play?
  2. What do you think the play is saying about theater in general?
  3. What is the purpose of meta-theatricality, or theater that makes us aware that we're watching theater?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The Chairs presents the pessimistic view that the art of creating theater is itself absurd.

The Chairs celebrates the theater and champions its power to reveal new truths to audiences everywhere.

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