FAQ Even so, it is possible to imagine certain of Ionesco’s plays performed as pure pantomime; Exit the King, for example, was originally written in the form of a ballet. 1953, pb. Ionesco's avant-garde play about language is paired with Edward Albee's The Zoo Story for the first production in John Carroll's Little Theatre. Certain critics, moreover, detected in Ionesco’s dramaturgy a strong cinematic influence, primarily from silent films and those of the Marx Brothers. Of Ionesco’s later efforts, only Man with Bags approaches the concise statement and eloquent imagery to be found in such plays as The Killer and Exit the King. 1954 (The Lesson, 1955); Les Chaises, pr. 1962, pb. Short fiction: La Photo du colonel, 1962 (The Colonel’s Photograph, 1967). Lest the spectator, however, leap to the conclusion that the Orator’s audience has been hallucinated by the old couple, Ionesco calls in his script for crowd noises that, in production, tend to sound like a cross between applause and howls of derision. During the late 1950’s, perhaps because of the debate, Ionesco began writing plays in which, for the first time, he appeared to be saying something specific; critics, noting the trend either with delight or with alarm, observed that his expression was somewhat weaker than in his earlier efforts. 1962 verfasste er Délire à deux (Delirium zu zweit) und Le Piéton de l’air (Fußgänger der Luft; letzteres wiederum zuerst als Erzählung und erst danach als Stück). All traveling salespeople, it seems, are also known as Bobby Watson, and vice versa.
Ponderousness of tone is avoided largely through Ionesco’s choice of supporting characters; the king’s protracted final moments are witnessed by both of his queens (one young and pretty, the other middle-aged and tart of tongue), a guard, and a Doctor who serves also as Astrologer and Chief Executioner.
In its current and final form, The Bald Soprano incorporates many evolutionary changes said to have occurred in the course of production. Ionesco’s King Bérenger, the Everyman protagonist of Exit the King, meets and surpasses in his life and death the anguished declaration of Camus’s Caligula (1954; English translation, 1948) that men die and are not happy; resuming in his modest person the history of all human endeavor, King Bérenger remains lucid even in his final moments, painfully aware that all has gone for nought. 1955, pb. > When asked to account for the latter talent, she calmly replies that she has memorized all possible products. Deceptively simple both in concept and in execution, Exit the King harks back to The Killer and The Chairs in its portrayal of a royal Bérenger awaiting death.
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