Freehold's Theatre Lab presents The CHAIRS by Eugene Ionesco
Friday April 14, 7:30 pm
Reading of The Chairs by Eugene Ionesco
Directed by Andy McGinn
Featuring Donald Byrd, Shellie Shulkin, and Aaron Moore
The Reading is a benefit for our NEW SPACE at 517 Maynard Ave S. Donations will be accepted at the door for our Capital Campaign!
We are anxious. We cant stop thinking about saving people. The Chairs hilariously and mockingly reflects what we do in that anxious attempt to beautify apparent futility with enriching hope. Standing in the rubble of WWII and staring at the Cold War, Ionesco shared our anxiety. He also knew that the need to save is both global and immediate when the only tool you have to give hope is by physical activation of imagination and empathy - by theatre.
What a wonderful cast to explore this with. Seattle legends Shellie Shulkin and Donald Byrd are both noted for their bravery and personal investment in their well-known artistic work, and Aaron is an enkindling emerging artist and recent Freehold student.
Ionesco was fascinated by the use of reason for unreasonable ends - absurdity. In The Chairs, asking what makes sense and what doesnt is akin to asking how much hope we have. The need to save becomes both global and immediate when the only tool you have is the physical activation of imagination and empathy - theatre. How absurd?
Andrew McGinn has been a professional actor, director, and teacher since his graduation from Juilliard in 1998. NYC performance credits include Broadway productions of the American premiers Invention of Love, and the Tony Award record-breaking Coast of Utopia. He has performed in over 150 theater productions at notable venues including Chicago Shakespeare, The Old Globe, Seattle Rep, ACT, The Western Playhouse, New Jersey Shakespeare, The Hangar Theater, The NY Shakespeare Festival / Public Theater (five productions), La Jolla Playhouse, and spent two searson touring classical theater with The Acting Company. He was also drumming and throwing marshmallows as a Blue Man, performing in NYC. Since his move to Seattle in 2010 his acting credits have included the title role in Cyrano at Portland Center Stage, the title role in Titus Andronicus at Seattle Shakespeare, the role of Dr. Watson in Seattle Rep's Hound of Baskervilles and Sherlock Holmes and the American Problem (April 2016), and the role of Falstaff in Freehold's Engaged Theatre Project productions of Henry IV pts 1&2, and Henry V (playing Falstaff's ghost as The Chorus)
He began producing and directing in association with NYC's The Infinite Theatre, directing Seascape with Sharks and Dancer, Last of my Solid Gold Watches, and Lady of Larkspur Lotion in association with the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival, where he also served as Supervising Director. Andrew earned his MFA in directing at the University of Washington, having directed David Edgar's Pentecost as his thesis production. Post-MFA directing credits include Female Transport at Seattle University, Indian Ink at Sound Theatre Company, All's Well that Ends Well for Freehold's Ensemble Training Intensive, and Fuente Ovejuna at Cornish College of the Arts.
Donald Byrd is a TONY nominated (The Color Purple) and Bessie Award winning (The Minstrel Show) choreographer, became Artistic Director of Spectrum Dance Theater in December 2002. From 1978 2002, he was Artistic Director of Donald Byrd/The Group, a critically acclaimed contemporary dance company, founded in Los Angeles and later based in New York, that toured extensively, both nationally and internationally. He has created over 100 modern and contemporary dance works for his own groups as well as for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, and Philadelphia Dance Company (Philadanco), among others; has choreographed for classical companies, including Pacific Northwest Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, Dance Theater of Harlem, Aterballetto, MaggioDanza diFirenze, and Oregon Ballet Theater
His non-dance company work has been with some of the most prestigious theater and opera companies in the U.S., including The New York Shakespeare Festival/Public Theater, La Jolla Playhouse, the Intiman Theater, Center Stage, San Francisco Opera, Seattle Opera and New York City Opera. He counts among his numerous collaborators an eclectic mix of distinguished artists including Peter Sellars, Anna Deveare Smith, and the late Max Roach.
Shellie Shulkin has been a theatre artist for nearly 35 years performing locally and nationally. She has held positions as Co-Artistic Director at Seattle Public Theatre with founding member Beth Amsbary, and Associate Artistic Director with Gael Force Irish Theatre. In 2013 she received the Gregory Award and The Gypsy Rose Lee Award for Outstanding Actress in a Lead Role for her work in August: Osage County as Violet Weston. Presently, Shellie is the Founder and Managing Director of Tales of the Alchemysts Theatre, a company dedicated to dramatic readings and performance of Jewish literature with live music.
Aaron Moore has been pursuing the craft of acting through his involvement in Freehold Theatre for the last six years culminating in the Ensemble Training Intensive in 2015. Since then, he's been seen on stage in projects such as Christmas on Mars with Outsider's Inn and Alcestis with Irrational Robot Bureau. He's honored to be part of this project.