We looked at this post-WWII play called Rhinoceros
Rhinoceros is a play written by Eugène Ionesco, a Romanian-French playwright, that explores the reaction of a community to humans turning into rhinoceroses. It is believed to imply the turn into Nazi supporters since it reflects Eugène Ionesco’s personal experience. Nevertheless, he never made a clear statement about the intended symbolism of the animal.
Looking at the dramatic script the aim is to investigate what happens when the actors and the cast are working with a script and written dialogues, making the part left to be determined even less. Already having experience (Devised theatre) with forms of theatre in which the cast and actors have to determine elements such as the movements, choreography and words, I am excited to explored something completely opposite in nature.
Most people identify the play to belong in the “Theatre of the Absurd”, but there are many who contradict this claim.
Theatre of the absurd
The Theatre of the Absurd (French: théâtre de l’absurd [teɑtʁ(ə) də lapsyʁd]) is a post–World War II designation for particular plays of absurdist fiction written by a number of primarily European playwrights in the late 1950s, as well as one for the style of theatre which has evolved from their work.
Research on Rhinoceros:
Members of the rhinoceros family are characterized by their large size (they are some of the largest remaining megafauna, with all of the species able to reach one tonne or more in weight); as well as by an herbivorous diet; a thick protective skin, 1.5–5 cm thick, formed from layers of collagen positioned in a lattice structure; relatively small brains for mammals this size (400–600 g); and a large horn. They generally eat leafy material, although their ability to ferment food in their hindgut allows them to subsist on more fibrous plant matter, if necessary. Unlike other perissodactyls, the two African species of rhinoceros lack teeth at the front of their mouths, relying instead on their lips to pluck food.
Becoming a Rhinoceros:
We became rhinoceroses. We embodied all of their characteristics and were acting as if we were one after researching quickly about it. I noticed that their main characteristic was their horn and it should be distinct throughout. Also, their breathing has a heavy snort, which should also be present. Generally rhinoceroses are heavy species with the tendency to move very slowly. To achieve this I imagined I had rocks as hands and feet. After a while things started evolving. We had to bring in chairs, also keeping in mind that rhinos are clumsy animals. Therefore I threw out my bag and jacket in attempt to move the chair while also causing this movement just with my head, instead of the horn. As I was moving the chair fell and I realized it should have never been straight up.
“If a rhino got this chair it would probably have already turn up side down minutes ago.”
And that was true. Everything that we as humans are used to doing and considering right and αυτονοητα is not the same for animals.
I also embraced this when having to sit on the chair. I just laid down on top of the upturnt chair.
We started off with an exercise we have also done in the past. The twirling your hips exercise. Hope you remember by now.
And then we attempted this:
We were supposed to be in a Parisian Cafe, in the 1960s. We first had to walk in a serious, inexpressive manner. After a while we were instructed to nod and pronounce a completely inexpressive “Bonjour”. We would then have to move to a seat of the amphitheater as if we were occupying a seat of the cafe. Normal movements of lighting a cigarette or drinking coffee was what followed. I chose to read a newspaper and light up a pipe. I felt like a man. Inexpressive, introverted and serious.
The females of the group were supposed to live and reenter the room one by one, sitting on their seats. The rest of us followed them by standing as they walked in and sitting as they sat on their chairs.
This evolved into a conversation among us and a debate: “Who stinks this much?”
We basically were instructed to accuse a person of stinking and lead him out of the “Cafe”.
I loved this exercise for one not that meaningful reason. It was the first time in a while were I was improvising.
I created a character. I was a man. Even though the setting would mostly remind me of a woman I still chose to impersonate a man to embody male characteristics of masculinity. I chose to have a newspaper and a cup of coffee to represent the French underlying atmosphere and a pipe to add to the mystery.
The biggest failure of this activity was our inability to communicate and make decisions as an assemble. When asked to decide upon one person to be thrown out, by working individually we ended up kicking out multiple people. The irony here is that even before Kate instructed us to do that I had already started developing that relationship with Giulia, so it all became 10 times more natural.
Lastly, the most important factor for me was the music. Throughout there was this instrumental music that accompanied our acting making it easier to embrace the atmosphere and enter this new Parisian world. The music also stopped when Kate instructed and continued along when we were to act. I acknowledged the impact music can have to your acting. It changes everything.
A while ago we spent an entire class analysing terms in IB Theatre. I found this extremely useful since in past assignments I figured those terms confused me to the extent that I couldn’t actually respond to what I was asked to do. Now I can identify the task and the requirements since I know the meaning and connotations of the specific vocabulary used. Looking at those criteria, it is more than obvious how important those terms are for our evaluation from IB.
Shakespear? Yes, intimidating! I don’t know what to do. Inspiration does not come when you’re instructed to be inspired. I like the concept of doing something different. I would like to do something innovative and intense. Maybe a musical? I can’t sing. I always thought of making a musical where there is someone who can’t sing and he is being made fun of. Maybe I can make fun of myself. I am more appealed to a fighting scene because of the intensity. The lack of knowledge for Shakespeare’s work restricts me. Once I explore more maybe I ‘ll change my mind. I would like to do something in a social scene where random people would interact. Benedikte’s idea on a theatre Flash Mob sound exciting but maybe there is not that level of interaction. Maybe swimming? Or a bathroom scene? What about a scene during class or snack time? Or wearing Sodexo clothes and pretending to be an ayi