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The Bald

Soprano

An investigation into the tragedy of language


Produced by The R.Mutt Society
Opening April 2015
Washington D.C. & New York City
www.rmuttsociety.com

info@rmuttsociety.com

Index
The R.Mutt Society:
Mission and Manifesto
(4-5)
Ionesco and The Bald Soprano:
A brief context and the subject of our investigation
(6-9)
Meet the Society:
Cast & Crew
(10-11)
The Project from a visual perspective:
Art concept
(12-14)
Conclusion
Dates and additional information
(15)

The R.Mutt Society

Mission and Manifesto

Founded in 2013 for the production


of the film Seep, R.Mutt Society is a
multidisciplinary company based in
New York City. Our name comes
from Duchamps Fountain. As the
renowned scholar Martin Esslin says
in his landmark work The Theatre of
the Absurd: We believe that every
work of art must be a statement. It
must be a statement addressed in the
first person singular to the first person
plural, and the latter must retain the
right to dissent.
With his Fountain (1917), Duchamp made the
quintessential statement about the history and future
of art. Duchamp of course knew the history of art and,
given recent trends, where art was going. He knew
what had been achieved how over the centuries
art had been a powerful vehicle that called upon the
highest development of the human creative vision
and demanded exacting technical skill; and he knew
that art had an awesome power to exalt the senses,
the minds, and the passions of those who experience
it. With his urinal, Duchamp offered presciently
a summary statement. The artist is not a great
creator Duchamp went shopping at a plumbing
store. The artwork is not a special object it was
mass-produced in a factory. The experience of art is
not exciting and ennobling it is puzzling and leaves
one with a sense of distaste. But over and above that,
Duchamp did not select just any ready-made object to
display. He could have selected a sink or a door-knob.
In selecting the urinal, his message was clear: Art is
something you piss on.
Stephen Hicks
[Excerpt from Why Art
became Ugly (2004).]

The mission of The R.Mutt Society


is to vitalize the performance and
study of the work of the masters
as well as discover new plays from
contemporary writers.
The Society seeks to push the
conventional limits of artistic
expression, to expand the medium
and the message, and explore new
ways of engaging the audience in
our investigations into the human
experience. Like having Duchamps
fountain in a museum, we are
deeply curious about the shifting
perception of art, based on the venue,
or frame, in which it is presented.
Too often we feel people applaud
the undeservering because they are
expected to, they laugh because

they are cued to, they pretend to


understand the incomprehensible
because to admit confusion would
be an embarrassment. In essence,
we seek to discourage mechanical
conformity in order to provoke
genuine reflection and insight.
Do the clothes make the man? Does
the theater make the performance?
Do we care more for the facade or
the foundation? In 2007 renowned
violinist Joshua Bell spent a morning
playing for commuters in the halls
of the DC metro and went mostly
ignored by passersby. Can any place
be turned into a theater? What makes
a theater? The curtains and the
stage, or the relationship between the
performers and the audience?
We seek to desanctify the venue of
the theater. It is not the industry that
is sacred, it is not the venue that is
sacred, its not even the play. Its the
experience thats sacred and its the
experience that we want to directly
engage the audience with.
We are greatly influenced by the
works of Ionesco, Beckett, Genet,
Pinter, Peter Brook, David Lynch,
Werner Herzog, Valle-Incln,
Monty-Python etc... and inspired by
the extraordinary work of current
companies such as Theater Mitu,
Dzieci, Theatre for a New Audience, Siti
Company

In going back to these authors we


want to make a clear statement
and remind the world that these
plays, with their power and depth of
meaning, still resonate with our time
and the eternal conditions of man in
society.

3 BASIC PRINCIPLES OF
OUR WORK:
Inclusiveness
The R.Mutt Society is formed by
an international group of artists
(USA, Spain, Mexico, Japan, UK,
Argentina, China...)
We are open to the collaboration
of anyone that wants to share their
vision of the world.
Sustainability
The R.Mutt Society is commited to a
creative and economic independence.
Constituted as a non-profit with
the help of donations, sponsors,
and grants, while remaing 100%
transparent on the use of our funds. It
doesnt take millions of dollars to put
up a play. Our priority must always
be to create theater thats accessible
for the people.
Social Awareness
We understand that theater must be
a place where artists and audience
members can create a debate around
any current issues. Art should pay
attention to whats going on in the
world in order to be relevant.
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Eugne Ionesco
At the age of one. I was born near Bucharest, but my parents came to France a year
later. We moved back to Romania when I was thirteen, and my world was shattered.
I hated Bucharest, its society, and its moresits anti-Semitism for example. I was
not Jewish, but I pronounced my rs as the French do and was often taken for a Jew,
for which I was ruthlessly bullied. I worked hard to change my rs and to sound
Bourguignon! It was the time of the rise of Nazism and everyone was becoming
pro-Naziwriters, teachers, biologists, historians . . . Everyone read Chamberlains
The Origins of the Twentieth Century and books by rightists like Charles Maurras
and Lon Daudet. It was a plague! They despised France and England because they
were yiddified and racially impure. On top of everything, my father remarried and
his new wifes family was very right-wing. I remember one day there was a military
parade. A lieutenant was marching in front of the palace guards. I can still see
him carrying the flag. I was standing beside a peasant with a big fur hat who was
watching the parade, absolutely wide-eyed. Suddenly the lieutenant broke rank,
rushed toward us, and slapped the peasant, saying, Take off your hat when you
see the flag! I was horrified. My thoughts were not yet organized or coherent at
that age, but I had feelings, a certain nascent humanism, and I found these things
inadmissible. The worst thing of all, for an adolescent, was to be different from
everyone else. Could I be right and the whole country wrong? Perhaps there were
people like that in Franceat the time of the Dreyfus trials, when Paul Droulde,
the chief of the anti-Dreyfussards, wrote En Avant Soldat!but I had never
known it. The France I knew was my childhood paradise. I had lost it, and I was
inconsolable. So I planned to go back as soon as I could. But first, I had to get
through school and university, and then get a grant.
Eugene Ionesco, The Art of Theater No. 6
Interviewed by Shusha Guppy
The Paris Review
Fall 1984
No. 93

Ionesco in Paris, Thatre de la Huchette, 1956

The play
In the backroom of a caf on the
boulevard Saint-Michel, a group of
actors seated around a table roaring
with laughter. Nicholas Bataille,
a young director, reads aloud the
first scenes of a play by the young
playwright Eugene Ionesco.
A couple that has nothing left to
say to say to each other after twenty
years of marriage spends the evening
with another couple that no longer
recognize each other.
The first scenes were drafted by
Ionesco after trying to learn English
from the Assimil method called
English Without Toil. In the readymade phrases aligned one after
the other he saw an inconsistency
in language which became the
inspiration for his play. From the
beginning, this admirer of Lewis
Carroll and other surrealists, knew
he wanted to make his play a parody
of theatre.
The plays opening night is May
10, 1950 and the turnout is
disappointing. Eugene Ionesco
anxiously watches the performance
in the wings. The publics reaction
is mixed. Some even insult them,
Who are these fools! Theyre
mocking us! However, intellectuals
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such as Camus, Breton, or Queneau


are won over. The critics reviews
are mixed as well. While some such
as Jacques Lemarchand have only
praise for the play others incinerate it
without mercy. Jean-Baptiste Jeener
will write, Meanwhile the play is
driving away the theatres audience.
The lack of an audience is what
forces the play to close after only one
month of performances.
Now in its 57th year at Thtre de
la Huchette, the play continues to
hold the world record for the show
that has been played non-stop in
the same theatre. The nearly 17,700
performances have been seen by over
2 million spectators.
We decided to set The Bald Soprano
as our first official theater project for
many reasons. The most relevant
is its unquestionable depth and
unique vision of human relations
and the meaning of society. We
were particularly drawn in by our
fascination with language and firsthand experiences with the trials of
miscommunication that accompany
the clash of cultures. We believe it
is a great starting point from which
to begin our debate and exploration
into the absurdity of the human
experience.

No society has been able to abolish human


sadness, no political system can deliver us from
the pain of living, from our fear of death, our
thirst for the absolute; it is the human condition
that directs the social condition, not vice versa
Martin Esslin.
The Theatre of the Absurd.

We are particularly interested in


exploring the subject of language
and communication as the main
theme of the play. Our work is
mainly focused on that matter. What
Ionesco called The Tragedy of
Language more than half a century
ago is still relevant today. The abuse
of language through vast quantities
of information, the impossibility
to process the infinite number of
messages thrown to us by the society
of information. Social Media,
express journalism (The Huffington
Post model of cheap and quick
news) makes it even more difficult to
separate what piece of information
is important and whats not. Also,
todays instant messaging and other
communication tools connect us
with practically everyone around
the globe instantly. Those tools
collaborate with us having 24hrs of
banal conversations, cheap and fast.
Time dictates the action. The heavy
burden of time here represented by
the ticking of the clock. It illustrates

the end of the middle class, the death


of the Welfare state all around the
globe. All of this adds to the creation
of a well-worn, grey, suburban
social order that is lacking a vivid
passion for life. Everything is OK,
but nothing is OK. Todays society
resonates with that of the Post-War
that the Smiths and the Martins in
the play represent. We are in need of
good storytelling to keep us not just
entertained but to keep us alive.
We also incorporate Ren Descartes
methodic doubt into our work,
knowing that his work was a great
influence for Ionesco as we have
learned from the beginning of our
process: to put all beliefs, ideas,
thoughts, and matter in doubt will
help us to keep on investigating
actively and strive for a wider
spectrum of work.
The play is an attack against what
Ionesco has called the universal pettybourgeoisie the personification of
accepted ideas and slogans, the ubiquitous
conformist. The acceptance of ready-made
ideas by the masses turn our societies into
collections of centrally directed automata
Martin Esslin.
The Theatre of the Absurd.

Cast and Crew

Rebecca Noelle Mason (Mary) is


an actor/director living in New York
and a graduate of The American
Musical & Dramatic Academy.
Pervious credits include Joan in
Sexual Perversity in Chicago, Lilith in
Adams Apple, Margaret in Much Ado
About Nothing, Brutus in Julius Caesar
and other exciting experimental
plays. Keep up with Rebecca on
her blog www.theactingbusiness.
wordpress.com or her Facebook Fan
page.

Nanda Valencia (Mrs. Smith/


Mrs. Martin) got her BFA degree at
the Institute of Artistic Development
(IDEA) in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Moved to New York City in 2008
and graduated from the New York
Film Academy. Shes one of the
founding members of The R.Mutt
Society. Her theatre credits include:
The Last Days of Judas Iscariot; Danny in
the Deep Blue Sea; The Glass Menagerie
Film credits include: Black Dog Red
Dog produced by James Franco.
www.fdavalencia.com

Peter John Wallace (Mr.Smith/


Mr.Martin) is a NYC-based actor
whose work has appeared locally
and internationally at the Edinburgh
Fringe and the Marionette Festival
in Paris. Recent work includes
Mercury Fur and The Last Days of Judas
Iscariot, The Cherry Orchard Garage Sale,
Mirror Alchemy and The Anger in Ernest
and Ernestine (FringeNYC 2014 The Plinth). Proud alumnus of the
Atlantic, LEcole Jacques Lecoq, and
Fordham University.

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Franco Pedicini (Mr.Smith/


Mr.Martin) Recently seen in
Mercury Fur at Under St. Marks. NY
credits include: Dracula (Theatre
68); The McTrue Hollywood Story (NY
New Works Theatre Festival); and
Unreachable Eden (Theater for the
New City). Film/TV credits include:
Isabella, a pilot for HBO; and the
upcoming Vesuvius. Franco is a
company member of Theatre 68 and
studies at the Stella Adler Studio.

Xavier Galva (The Fire Chief) is a


NY actor, playwright, and educator. He
is a founding member of The Middle
Voice Theater Company. He is currently
in residency with The Rattlestick
Playwrights Theater, and Clubbed
Thumb. He is a proud staff member of
the MCC Theater. As an Actor he has
worked on productions such as Waiting for
Lefty, Bus Stop, Caucasian Chalk Circle, Faith
Hope and Charity, The Last Days of Judas
Iscariot, The General of Hot Desire, Bitter

Sauce, and 140.


Guillermo Logar (Director)
Madrid, Spain in 1987. Filmmaker
and theater director. Founder of The
R. Mutt Society. Recently directed
Mercury Fur at Under St. Marks and
the film Seep. Editor-In-Chief of
the film magazine La Crtica (www.
lacriticanyc.com).

Charles Furst (Production


Manager) A recent transplant

Miwa Ishii (Costume


Designer) Designed Anna Christie

to NYC, Charles Furst worked


as stage manager for Mercury
Fur at Under St. Marks this past
November and is excited to be
working once again with many
members of that same team on
this current project.

for Triad Stage, (Greensborough,


NC) in 2014, where she will
return to design Common Enemy,
(June 2015). Currently a full time
tailors assistant and technician
for the Broadway costume shop,
Eric Winterling Inc., while she
continues her career as a designer.
www.miwaishii.com

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Art Concept

Conceptual collage

Created by Miwa Ishii


www.miwaishii.com
Costum Design|Set Design

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Poster

Poster (final draft)

Designed by Paul Zdon


www. paulzdon.com
Two versions: NYC and
Washington opening.

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Inspiration

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Excerpts from Anglais Sans Peine


-Ionescos inspiration-

Dates and Venues


March 24th, 2015
The A Train series
Will perform in the NYC subway
A Line from 145th station to JFK
Airport. Free Entrance (with Metro
Card)
March 25th to 31st, 2015
The Harlem series
at 2649 Frederick Douglass Blvd.
The intimacy of a private apartment
in the middle of one of the most
diverse and modern neighborhoods
in Manhattan will serve as the
opening of the play.
Capacity of 15 to 20 seats
7 performances
Donations accepted at the door.

April, 2015 (Exact date TBA)


New York City Theater
5 to 10 performances at a renowned
venue. In talks.
More dates and venues soon to come.

For more information visit:


www.rmuttsociety.com
info@rmuttsociety.com

April, 2015 (Exact date TBA)


The French Embassy, Washington
D.C. Capacity of 400 seats
1 performance only
Free Entrance
April, 2015 (Exact date TBA)
All We Art Studio, Washington D.C.
Q&A, Projection of parts of the
documentary of the process.
Free Entrance
www.allweartstudio.com

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