Mary Steurer | September 29, 2017
In the play “Rhinoceros”, members of a small community mysteriously begin turning into rhinoceroses. Originally written by playwright Eugene Ionesco in the 1950s, the play is a social commentary on the rise of fascism and explores identity, conformity and fear.
“Rhinoceros” premieres Thursday at the Debartolo Performing Arts Center (DPAC) at 7:30 p.m. and will run through Oct. 8. Tickets can be purchased either at the box office in DPAC or on the DPAC website.
Junior Joseph Blakey will play the lead role, individualist Berenger. The play follows Berenger’s plight to remain true to his identity all the while seeing others around him turn into rhinoceroses. What makes Berenger unique, Blakey said, is his refusal to give into group mentality.
“He’s not pretending to be someone else,” Blakey said. “He is who he is.”
Junior Joe Crowley will play Jean, Berenger’s close friend. Narcissistic and confrontational, Jean is a character caught in the throes of internal struggle, Crowley said. Crowley said Jean is conflicted about how he wants to define himself in the midst of the changing society.
“That’s eventually what drives him to act as he does and evolve as he does over the course of the show,” Crowley said.
Senior Abbey Schnell, who directed “Rhinoceros,” began her work in February with an in-depth analysis of the script. Schnell emphasized the importance of identifying the “fundamental action of the play”
With this foundation in mind, Schnell said she then concerned herself with the inner workings of the society in which the characters belong, such as how the characters express themselves and interact with others.
“You have to figure out the rules of the world,” Schnell said.