The Rug Merchants of Chaos

The Rug Merchants of Chaos

by Ronald Ribman
A wildly comic vision of a frenzied quest for riches run amok in a universe filled with incalculable accident.

Performances: [at the James A. Little Theater]

February 18 through 27th, 2011. February 18, 19, 24, 25, 26 at 7:30 pm and February 20 and 27 at 2 pm

The Play:

The Rug Merchants of Chaos tells the story of two American couples, stranded on a rust-bound garbage tow lurching out of Capetown, South Africa in 1985 ….destination unclear.  They leave in their wake a series of failed businesses, hare-brained schemes and grand dreams gone up in smoke –literally! Now Victor and Sheila Finkelberg and Max and Annie Mottram must adapt immediately to their new circumstances. Some people are better at that than others. The play presents “chaos” on two levels – the chaos we see all around us on a very bad day ( …the dog loses all its hair suddenly…Cousin Bob arrives without warning with his six kids…the kitchen catches fire… the car grinds to a halt – and that’s the morning!) ; and chaos as the Greeks understood it : a vast emptiness, uncharted, unlit.  Ribman has woven these two kinds of chaos together, in much the same way it occurs in the life of an individual. The play is a comedy, but a comedy with a bite. It also reveals the playwright’s compassionate view of people caught up in a mess. A central theme in Ribman’s work shows a preoccupation with the persistence of the past in the present – a recognition that we carry with us a bag of seeds that begin sprouting at different times; of memories that can never be simply set aside.
Ronald Ribman: Ribman was born in New York City in 1932. He is a poet , playwright and author who attended the University of Pittsburgh with a Ph.D.  in English Literature. He left academia in 1964 to focus on his work as a playwright. His poetry has appeared in many journals. His plays include (Partial list) :
  • Harry , Noon and Night , The American Place Theater
  • The Journey of the Fifth Horse, The American Place Theater
  • The Ceremony of Innocence, The American Place Theater
  • A Break In the Skin, Yale Repertory Company and The Actor’s Studio
  • The Poison Tree , Ambassador Theater
  • Cold Storage, The Lyceum Theater
  • Sweet Table at the Richelieu, The American Repertory Theater
  • The Cannibal Masque, The American Repertory Theater
  • Dream of the Red Spider, The American Repertory Theater
Ribman has also written for film and television. Many of his play scripts are published by Samuel French and Dramatists Play Service; Doubleday, Theater Communications Group, Avon. Awards and Fellowships:
  • Obie Award, Best Play 1966    The Journey of the Fifth Horse
  • Emmy Nomination, Outstanding Writing/Achievement in Drama  1967  The Final War of Olly Winter
  • Dramatists Guild, Hull-Warriner Award   1976    Cold Storage
  • Playwrights USA Award   Buck 1984
  • Kennedy Center, Fund for New American Plays  The Rug Merchants of Chaos 1991
  • Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship   1966, 1968
  • Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. 1970
  • National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, 1974, 1987

CAST and ARTISTIC STAFF: Sheila Finkelberg - Kat Sawyer Victor Finkelberg - Jack Sherman Max Mottram - Dan Friedman Annie Mottram - Katherine Hanscom Captain Mammadogliu - Marcos Kelly David Olson - Director / Set Design Jack Sherman - Technical Director Steve Carmichael -  Lighting Design Richard Gonzales - Props Master Deborah Kruhm - Costumes Paula Olson - Sound Design Larry Lee - Stage Manager Alison Myers - Assistant Stage Manager Ilana Kirschbaum - Scenic Charge Petr Jerabek - Photography THEATERWORK is in its 35th year as a  year-round company. The Rug Merchants of Chaos is its 99th production in since moving to Santa Fe.

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