The Lesson is a psychological thriller following a professor's invitation to tutor a young student at his private residence. In keeping with the laws of absurdist theatre, the lesson enters a downward spiral as the professor devolves into nonsensical tutelage, throwing the student into a state of confusion. Menace develops as the two, in a pseudo-couple dynamic, exchange in non sequitur dialogue - often to comedic effect. Maddened by his pupil's apparent ignorance, the lesson is shockingly ended. The doorbell rings, announcing the arrival of the next student and the entire cycle begins again.
Originally staged in 1951, The Lesson is a one-act play by French-Romanian writer Eugene Ionesco, a key contributor to the 'Theatre of the Absurd'. The avant-garde theatre style is characterised by its expression of what happens when it is assumed that human existence has no purpose. Characters are caught in hopeless situations and a breakdown in rationale results in illogical speech, confounding wordplay and a dangerous concept of reality.
Director Matt Baker returns to Basement Theatre with another example of thrilling theatre, set to transform the stage into a medical ward fit for a medieval horror at the hands of designer Christine Urquhart. Just in time for Halloween.