Friday, November 14, 2008

Opening night of Rhinoceros

Under the direction of Kaitlin Murphy, the Annex Theatre took on the great task of performing Rhinoceros. This was by far the longest play that I had attended at the Annex Theatre, though this is just a statement, not a criticism. Rhinoceros, a play written by Eugene Ionesco in 1959, shows the struggle of one man to maintain his identity and integrity in a world where everyone else has become rhinorceros; accepting fascism and violence as the new world order. Exploring ideas of conformity and morality, Rhinoceros ask is it better to be a man alone or to run with the herd?

The characters were all dressed in brightly colored costumes which complemented the monochromatic sets. The set up for this play was different than other experiences at the Annex, utilizing more of the space available, as opposed to solely focusing on a traditional stage. After the intermission, the audience was asked to move their chairs 90 degrees to face another stage. It is also in this last act that instruments are randomly handed out to audience members from Jean, allowing us to be part of his transformation. All the parts were played quite well with standout performances from the leads, Evan Moritz (Jean), Tim Paggi (Berenger), Katherine Ralston (Daisy), and Owen Brightman (Dudard). The last scene dragged on a bit, but overall it was another success from the Annex Theatre.

And to take it right from the text:

JEAN:Instead of squandering all your spare money on drink, isn't it better to buy a ticket for an interesting play? Do you know anything about the avant-garde theatre there's so much talk about? Have you seen Ionesco's plays?

BERENGER: Unfortunately, no. I've only heard people talk about them.

JEAN: There's one playing now. Take advantage of it.