Théâtre de la Ville-Paris: Rhinoceros by Eugene Ionesco
Directed by Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota
Looking at the famed playwright in a new framework, this restaging and U.S. premiere of Ionesco’s Rhinoceros is performed by the same troupe that debuted it at Paris’ Théâtre de la Ville in 2004, where Demarcy-Mota was named director in 2008. Ionesco’s metaphorical cautionary tale takes aim at the powerful grip of social and political ideology and its power to eclipse the identity of the individual and strip away intellectual pursuit.
The story of protest and conformity is reflective of Ionesco’s personal and emotional reaction to the rise of Fascism and French collaboration with the Nazis. Rhinoceros is considered by many to be his finest work and revered as a gripping piece of the Theatre of the Absurd era of theatre history.
Rhinoceros begins in a small French town square where Ionesco’s semi-autobiographical everyman Bérenger apathetically witnesses a rhinoceros running through the square while his fellow citizens react with shock and, later, conformity. The square is soon overrun with townsfolk joining the herd. Only Bérenger transforms from indifference to an empowerment—becoming an individual determined to fight against the tyranny of the collective.
Royce Hall / UCLA Website
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