In recent months, several prominent New York critics have acknowledged and celebrated a few theaters outside the Big Apple. As a Philadelphian, it’s gratifying to see some national recognition sent our way, although those mentions are usually limited to a couple of well-known companies – the Wilma, and Pig Iron in particular.
Deserving as they are, much of the most consistently strong and innovative work comes from smaller companies that should be better known. For me, the memorably if quirkily named Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium (IRC as it’s known locally) is at the top of that list.
The company, co-founded in 2006 by Producing Artistic Director and actor Tina Brock along with Bob Schmidt, has specialized in Absurdism, but not always in the way audiences might expect. Some classic examples of that genre feature prominently, including multiple productions of Ionesco’s The Bald Soprano and The Chairs.
But for my money, IRC’s work is most interesting—even revelatory—when Brock and company turn their absurdist interests to works that largely lie outside that category…