“Because the theatre is the art form that deals above all others in human relationships, then theatre is the art, par excellence, in which we discover what it is to be human and what is possible for humans to be… Theatre, properly conceived, is not an escape either but a flight to reality, a rehearsal for life itself, a rehearsal of these human relationships of which the most essential, the relationship that defines most vividly who we are and that makes our lives possible, is love.”
This quote is from a play presented by a theatre company that prides itself in “seldom-produced absurdist works.” In my humble opinion, I have never heard a sentence so far from being absurd. Of course, this beautiful ode to theatre and its reality is uttered by a ventriloquist in a twisted and distorted Disney meets Tim Burton world. So, yeah… Maybe a bit absurd.
The Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium (IRC) presents the Philadelphia premiere of Charles Mee’s dark comedy PARADISE PARK at Walnut Street Theatre’s Studio 5 space. Paradise Park tells the story of this Edgar Bergen-esque ventriloquist and his sidekick dummies Charlie and Mortimer; a fractured family hoping to bury a family secret, and an assortment of charming and disarming existential hitchhikers looking for meaning and respite from their disordered and anxiety-riddled lives. (Sounds normal, right?) Through thirty-one scenes featuring fruitcake tosses, square dancing and magic tricks, the folks of Paradise Park wrangle, philosophize, sing and laugh on their coveted tiny island, as they long for peace and contentment for the price of admission.
The Paradise cast includes new faces to the IRC stage: Sean Close, Colleen Hughes, and Shamus McCarty, along with some IRC regulars: Heather Cole, John D’Alonzo, Michael Dura, Tomas Dura, Robb Hutter, Bob Schmidt and Tina Brock, who also directs the show.
Paradise Park opens tomorrow February 15 and runs Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sunday at 2:30 pm. Catch it before it closes on March 3, 2013 at the Walnut Street Theater’s Studio 5 in Philadelphia. For tickets: www.idiopathicridiculopathyconsortium.org