Sometimes known as the father of Absurd Theatre, he was a man who said "It's not a certain society that seems ridiculous to me, it's mankind." That attitude has carved a niche for playwright Eugene Ionesco in theatre history, which is perhaps why his Rhinoceros will play at the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival Aug. 8-27.
A play that can best be described in the words of Ionesco himself, Rhinoceros is based on this idea: (in the spirit of Ionesco, read it with a Rumanian accent) "Imagine that one fine morning you discover that rhinoceroses have taken power. They have rhinoceros ethic, a rhinoceros philosophy, a rhinoceros universe. The new master of the city is a rhinoceros who uses the words as you and yet it is not the same language. The words have different meaning to him... You are the only man among rhinoceroses."
Directed by Paul Mullins, with settings by Michael Schweikhardt, costumes by Jonathan Bixby and Gregory Gale, lighting by Michael Giannitti, and sound by Richard Dionne.
The cast includes Andrew Weems, Paul Niebanck, Katie MacNichol,Bruce Turk, Helmar Augustus Cooper, Herman Petras, Roy Cockrum, Robert Hock, Debbie Lee Jones, Veronica Watt, Masha Obolensky, Beth Bailey, John Kennedy, Walter Cupit, Jared Zeus and Andy Schwartz.
* The NJSF's Rock Thy Brain season continues with Shakespeare’s Anthony and Cleopatra, with Robert Cuccioli as Antony, runs Sept. 5-30, followed by Othello Oct. 24-Nov. 19. The season concludes with Maurice Maeterlinck’s The Blue Bird.
The New Jersey Shakespeare Festival is located at 36 Madison Ave (Route 124) on the campus of Drew University in Madison. For ticket and travel information, call the box office at (973) 408-5600. Visit NJSF online at www.njshakespeare.org
and Daniel Fischer