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Rhinoceros and Other Plays: Rhinoceros, The Leader, The Future Is in Eggs or It Takes All Sorts to Make a World

Rhinoceros and Other Plays: Rhinoceros, The Leader, The Future Is in Eggs or It Takes All Sorts to Make a World
Your Price: $21.75 CDN
Author: Eugene Ionesco
Translated by: Ira Progoff
Publisher: Grove Press
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 142
Pub. Date: 1960
ISBN-10: 0802130984
ISBN-13: 9780802130983

About the Plays:

Rhinoceros (English-language version of Le Rhinocéros) is a full-length drama by Eugene Ionesco, translated from the French by Ira Progoff. When friends and countrymen transform one by one into green-skinned snorting rhinos, a thoroughly modern couch potato anti-hero becomes humanity's last hope. Eugene Ionesco's darkly comic absurdist masterpiece depicts authoritarianism as a virus that turns human beings into rhinoceroses. The sublime is confused with the ridiculous in this savage commentary on the human condition, a staple of every theatre classroom and 20th century drama.

Rhinoceros has been called a metaphor for man's struggle to remain an individual in the face of mass hysteria. A small town is besieged by one roaring citizen who becomes a rhinoceros and proceeds to trample on the social order. As more citizens are transformed into rhinoceroses, the trampling becomes overwhelming, and more and more citizens become rhinoceroses. One sane man, Berenger remains, unable to change his form and identity. He is a simple man with a simple life. Berenger has a regular job, drinks too much, and has a flirtatious relationship with his coworker Daisy. But his day is interrupted by a rhinoceros charging through town – then another and another. Berenger begins to ponder the ramifications of literally following the herd. Written just after World War II, Rhinoceros is still considered a masterpiece of absurdist theatre, where the world is incomprehensible and anything a writer can imagine can happen.

Rhinoceros has been performed thousands of times throughout the world, but the four most notable productions happened between 1959 and 1961. The world premiere occurred in Germany in 1959, and the play was published in French the same year as Le Rhinocéros. Then the show premiered in Ionesco's native France in 1960. Orson Welles directed the 1960 Royal Court production in London, which led to Zero Mostel's legendary turn on Broadway the following year. The show enjoyed numerous award-winning revivals and tours and has become a popular choice for school and community theatre productions.

Cast: 6 women, 11 men

The plays in this collection also include The Leader, and The Future Is in Eggs, or It Takes All Sorts to Make a World.

What people say:

"Almost 50 years after its British premiere, the absurdist drama is back at the Royal Court. It's a joy to see this modern classic on stage." — The Guardian

"An allegory for our times.... With outrageous comedy, Ionesco attacks the most serious subjects: blind conformity and totalitarianism, despair and death." — The New York Times

"Its satirical humor, combined with its provocative theme and surprisingly moving ending, results in an evening that is strange, disturbing and arresting." — New York Post

About the Playwright:

Eugène Ionesco (1909-1994) was an internationally renowned French playwright who profoundly altered the face of modern drama. Known mainly as the father of the Theater of the Absurd, he wrote the genre's best-known work, The Rhinoceros. The son of a French mother and Romanian father, he spent his early childhood in Paris. He returned to Romania until 1938, when he returned to France on a graduate scholarship. Eventually, he became a French citizen. He wrote more than twenty plays, including The Bald Soprano, The Lesson, The Chairs, and Exit the King, as well as stories, memoirs, and theoretical essays, and was elected a member of the French Academy.

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