If Sammy Met Dave
by Sarah Segal-Lazar
In a world where three men spend their lives sitting on the ground, one man will dare to stand up. Welcome to CHAIRS: A Parable.
The play starts with three filthy and sullen men sitting on the floor. Behind them, a simple yet stunning set, made up of debris. As the men sit and stare at the wall, we understand quickly that they have never strayed from this place, apart from gathering food. The play is reminiscent of Beckett. If Vladimir and Estragon had had a third companion while waiting for Godot, things might have ended up differently; power dynamics might have shifted. With three, someone is always the odd-man out.
As the title of the play promises, there are chairs. They are a radical invention which change everything for these three men who, for so long, lived in equality. A word about these chairs: they are some of the most brilliant and beautiful pieces of set design that I’ve seen. As the alpha and beta sit on their titularly size-appropriate thrones, the third man, poignantly portrayed by Paul Naiman, breaks the audience’s heart as the deceived and manipulated omega.
Filled with absurdity, laughs, and the reminder that we’re all doomed, Sebastien Archibald’s hilarious and heartbreaking play is like the lovechild of Samuel Beckett and David Mamet. Masterfully directed by Theatre Bazooka’s Artistic Director Jen Quinn, CHAIRS is one of the best shows I’ve seen at the Fringe this year. Don’t miss it.