A nameless, ageless couple hides out from an unseen Armageddon
Based on the script by Eugene Ionesco
Directed by Vladimir Rovinsky and Lisa Channer
Trapped inside a relationship tainted by boredom, hatred and mutual dependence, the couple argues relentlessly. Outside of their cell-like home, the war rages, reaches an apocalyptic climax and gives way to a victory celebration. Meanwhile, simultaneously attracted to and repelled by each other, the man and woman relive their first meeting, bicker over the right name for the species of a turtle and disagree about who won the war.
The battles outside and within feed off of each other, drive the action of the play and, in this bilingual adaptation, create a metaphor for today’s political landscape. The couple communicates in two languages; he speaks primarily Russian and she primarily English. They understand each other, although rather than clarify, their communications generate arguments, stale-mates and moments of tension broken only by flights of fantasy to an imagined, idealized past.
The world created is both absurdly funny and terribly sad in true Ionesco fashion, putting into personal language the suspicion of difference and inability to communicate that pervade national and international relations. By its unexpected end, the play reflects on the personal and the political with chilling resonance and absurd humor for a world that is war obsessed. Finally we are left to wonder how the couple got where they are and who, if anyone, is watching over them.
Says co-creator and performer Vladimir Rovinsky, “the last thing we wanted was to create a piece of political realism. In the play’s world, languages change as fast as opinions and creating a surprising, funny, odd world with its own unique rhythm and style.” Since its premiere at the Yale Cabaret in 1998, Delirium for Two has been produced at the East St Studios in Amherst MA, as part of ARTS NOW: Art in a Culture of Violence Conference at SUNY New Paltz and at the 2008 Minnesota Fringe Festival.