Litkicks Message Board Archive

rhinoceros - ionesco

Posted to What Are You Reading?

ionesco is a personal favorite of mine and rhinoceros is
probably my favorite of his. ionesco is rarely performed
in america, and rhinoceros is no exception. i did a little
research and it seems its last major production was in
the 50's with zero mostel.

the setting is a casual french village. the two main characters,
jean and berenger sit at a cafe trading barbs, recounting
the current social climate and then again, trading barbs. their
relationship and banter is absurd and clever and relentless.

they learn, while verbally wrestling each other, a rhinoceros
has stormed through the town and everything seems to decay
into confusion, wonder, anger, chaos. the rhino seems to
be an allegory of the absurdity of the herd mentallity.

its no wonder why this play is so rarely produced. you never
get to see the rhino, there are no orchestrated dance numbers
around him and no comic book heroes are called on to fight
him off. no one has subsequent sex with a pie. but considering
americas obvious appetite for the truly absurd, id tend to think
a major staging of this show would be wildly popular. im sure
ionesco - if he was alive - wouldnt object to sex with a pie.

fyi- ionescos first play was written in his 40s.
its never too late, so get busy, you!