“Bald Soprano” to be performed by UWEC theatre department

The early 20th century absurdist play will be performed from Dec. 7-11

Elliot Adams

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The Tator
May 9, 2023

Photo by Elliot Adams

“Bald Soprano” will be performed at the Riverside Theatre.

The UW-Eau Claire theatre department will perform “The Bald Soprano” on Dec. 7-11 at the Riverside Theatre in Haas Fine Arts Center. 

According to Jennifer Chapman, theatre department professor and director of the play, “Bald Soprano” is an absurdist play by Eugène Ionesco

Chapman said that absurdism was a movement that began in the early 20th century in response to the “chaos and tragedy of different authoritarian and fascist governments around Western Europe.” 

According to Chapman, absurdist plays were typically either depressing or ridiculous — “Bald Soprano” falls into the ridiculous category. 

“This play is about how weird it is that language evokes thoughts and images, how a word is meant when you say it over and over and over,” Chapman said. 

The focus on languages is due to Ionesco’s multilingual background and his learning a new language while writing the play according to Chapman. 

“He thought it was so funny that if you say a phrase over and over and over like the chair is on the floor, the chair is on the floor, the chair is on the floor, it inures it of any meaning,” Chapman said. 

According to Chapman, the play mainly explores “the ridiculousness of life that we should celebrate.”

Brian Donnelly, a third-year business management and theatre arts student, said that acting in absurdist plays is challenging due to its unconventional nature. 

“With absurdism, you kinda have to throw all that out the window because it’s not about the story as much,” Donnolly said. “The absurdism genre is all about the point that life is meaningless and that all the things we do are meaningless.” 

According to Chapman, preparation began with 3-4 months of production meetings and then five weeks of rehearsal split between the Pablo Center and Riverside Theatre. 

In addition to the rehearsals, there are set-building and tech rehearsals to bring the production together. 

Chapman said she was inspired to bring this play to UW-Eau Claire due to the play’s popularity with students in her theatre history class. 

“The Bald Soprano” is a funny play for people who like weird stuff, Chapman said. 

“If you feel like arts experiences are maybe a little too snooty, patooty for you sometimes, this is a great play to just tickle your funny bone if you see the world slightly askew,” Chapman said. 

Donnolly said that the play is only one hour and that Eau Claire community members should see the play because it’s “funny and unconventional.” Additionally, he said they should consider seeing it due to the work and pride of the cast and crew in the production. 

“I think I put in more time into this show than I have during any of my other shows here,” Donnolly said. 

Tickets for the production can be purchased on the UW-Eau Claire music and theatre arts department website. From Dec. 7-10, there will be evening performances and from Dec. 10-11, there will be matinee performances. 

Adams can be reached at [email protected]