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`Bald Soprano' a satirical escape

One-act play explodes with passion, absurdity

In this day and age, two forms of drama exist - that which occurs in reality and that in which reality is portrayed. With all the real-life drama that has been occurring in our world recently, it's nice to find an escape through the simplistic art form of theatrical drama.

Eugene Ionesco's satirical one-act play, "The Bald Soprano," allows for this type of an escape, capturing the harsh truths of life in a comically uncanny manner.

Director Joe Feldman collaborates with six veteran community actors to deliver what he describes as a "parody with sarcasm in an odd sort of humor." The show is to be the first production of the newly built Bosque Farms School theater, Peggie Ann Findlay Arts Center, named after the school's founder.

The play features actors Maria Johnson as Mary the Maid, Ross Kelly as the Fire Chief, Peter Kierst as Mr. Martin, Colleen McClure as Mrs.Smith, Jacqueline Reid as Mrs. Martin and William Sterchi as Mr. Smith. The actors express their characters with a unique and inexplicable humor, bringing to the stage an explosive mixture of energy, emotion and eccentrics.

The play surrounds the lives of two English couples, the Smiths and the Martins, and their struggles to figure out the most obvious mysteries of life. Through the irony of their zany conversations, these families create a comedic atmosphere that is at times a little too familiar.

For instance, as the Martins try desperately to recall the nature of their relationship - specifically why they look so familiar to each other - they are overcome with incessant confusion. Little do they know they have been married for years.

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Beneath all the radical interactions among the diverse characters is an unforeseen love interest between the town's cowardly yet arrogant fire chief and the psychotic yet intuitive Mary the Maid. The fiery chemistry, driven by the talent of the actors that depict these characters, is composed of elements of bewildering passion combined with knee-slapping absurdity.

In the end, the play leaves the audience both in a fit of laughter and reflection, perhaps emotionally overcome with the opposite themes of comedy and the tragedy of what an ignorant life can bring.

The writer's ability to invent such congruent combinations of basic language and depth of meaning is one of the reasons Feldman was prompted to direct this particular play.

Yet the language and dialect within "The Bald Soprano" are not the only things that make it inimitable and appropriate with regards to today's world.

Feldman said the play not only strips away the typical expectations of the theater, but also serves as an example for human existence. He added that it helps make people aware that the "universe is an uncertain place, and the ability to perceive truth and reality is suspect."

Feldman found parallels between the play's underlying theory to the current events that have recently shaken our world. Feldman pointed out that, as a society, we may "recognize all the things we do to create a certain sense of stability are not as secure as we think they might be or would like them to be."

"The Bald Soprano" will be running through Oct. 21, with shows held Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are available at the door or can be purchased by calling "The Cell" at 766-9412. Tickets are $5 for general admission and $3 for Bosque Farms School students and parents.

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