The Bald Soprano

I went to see The Bald Soprano on Thursday night. It was certainly the most interesting play I have ever gone to see.  Ionesco makes a statement about language and how absurd and meaningless it is if those using it are unable to communicate it properly.  Ionesco also uses memory, or the lack of it, to portray the significance of language while also showing that reality is distorted. It begins normal enough, with the Smiths sitting in chair opposite of each other.  Once the Smiths begin speaking, one quickly realizes that this is not a normal English scene.  Throughout the conversations within the play, there is a pattern of the normal being made absurd through the use of language and memory.  The greatest example of this is when Mrs. Martin tells the story of the man she saw tying his shoe and the Smiths and Mr. Martin find this to be an incredible thing to see.  It again is shown when the story of the man reading the paper is told and the same reaction is given.  Another example is when Mrs. Smith reacts to Mr. Smith mentioning Bobby Watson.  Mr. Smith announces Bobby Watson’s death while reading the paper.  Mrs. Smith reacts in an expected way, appearing shocked at the news.  Mr. Smith then turns this normal and expected reaction into an absurd one when he announces that they attended the funeral for Bobby Watson two years ago.  Mrs. Smith then mentions Bobby Watson’s children, and then later says they have none.  She also reminds her husband that all of the Watson’s are named Bobby.

Time and reality also holds a level of significance within The Bald Soprano, contributing to the overall sense of absurdity.  Time is distorted, the clock never tells what time it actually is.  This begs the question, how do the Smiths do anything other than what is shown if they are unable to tell what time it is? I suppose this is part of why Mrs. Smith describes the great dinner they all had before saying that they had no dinner because they were waiting for the Martins to arrive.   This lack of time keeping pushed an overall sense of existential meaningless.  It implies that what is being seen is all that there is.  This is supported by the ending scene.  The Smiths and the Martins chant random sayings even after the stage goes dark.  When the lights return the Martins sit in the same place that the Smiths sat when the play opened, they are even saying the same exact things.  This lack of language, memory and time contributes to the distorted reality.  It also pushes the idea that this is a meaningless cycle that these characters must continue living in.

The Bald Soprano captures themes of language, memory, time and reality while showing how all four contribute to the absurdity and distortion of the other.  Overall, the absurdity throughout the entire play questioned and defied the idea of an objective reality.

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