A brilliant Absurdist play by Eugène Ionesco.
The whole play revolves around an Old Man and an Old Woman, trapped within the confines of routine.
Every day they share the same talks, engage in the same petty movements, and reiterate the same expressions.
The only escape from their stifling loneliness is the conversations they share, particularly the “message” the Old Man wishes for the world to hear.
As he is preparing for his guests, (all of mankind), to come and hear his revelation, he begins rearranging chairs in a circular manner.
Slowly the guests start appearing, and quickly the audience realize that they are invisible.
Ionesco’s attempt to breathe existence into the ephemeral is a brilliant portrayal of escapism.
To the Old man and Old woman who have no aspirations for the future, no attachment to the past, and no confidence in the present; this “message” is the only way to convince themselves that their lives are not devoid of meaning.
As the Old Man prepares for his revelation, he whispers a part of his message to himself. “At the end, of the end, there was, there was, what what?”
As his memory starts to fail him, he becomes dissatisfied with his ability to communicate his message to the world and decides to rely on an orator.
After a period of uncomfortable silence the orator finally arrives, dressed in elitist 19th century clothing that perfectly matches his pompous entrance.
The Old Man and Woman are taken by his presence believing that he is worthy and capable of spreading their prophecy.
Feeling they have exceeded all limits of happiness (and desire), they decide they have nothing else to do but end their lives together.
As the audience anxiously turns to the orator for the message, he addresses the invisible audience with incomprehensible speech.
We quickly realize that he is deaf and mute and that the Old Man and Woman, like their message died in vain.
The play ends with a collision of murmuring, coughing, and laughing from the invisible audience that slowly subsides as the orator exits the stage.
This Ionesco claims is the “last decisive moment of the play that should be an expression of…absence”.