by Eugene Ionesco
An Inhuman Story with Jazz, Songs and Dance
Rhinoceros is a story about how people suddenly turn into rhinoceros. One after the other. Of different ages, classes, cultures, values and faiths. Rhinoceros are frightful beasts when they gather into a herd. Better not get in their way – they’ll crush and stomp everything without even noticing. Nor is it worthwhile to try to reason with them – they’ll neither listen nor understand. For their ‘normality’ to them raises no questions. Moreover, the more of them there are, the less those around them question their normality. Their determination, their brute strength and the clarity of their desires are so appealing! They can do anything! Away with snobbish limits and rules! Away with codes of conduct! Freedom! There’s only one rule: THERE ARE NO RULES! EVERYONE HAS THE RIGHT TO A RIGHT!
But what do you do if just yesterday the rhinoceros you see was your colleague, your friend, your beloved? Will you still consider them a person, or are they already… rhinoceros? And what do you do if someone else’s ‘right’ infringes upon your own?
This is a story about spirituality and its absence. About the nature of evil, if that even is a natural phenomenon. What is the real difference between a human and a beast? Is there one? Why is it that culture, art, religion, science and humanitarian values, which we assume have been building up over thousands of years, aren’t actually building up at all? They disappear in an instant, like steam in a sauna, when His Highness Instinct opens the door! And is everything that is not obscene always natural? Where is the boundary between tolerance and intemperance?
For audiences aged 12 and up
Premiered 25 December 2015
Duration: 3 hours with one interval
Translation by Lia Zavyalova
Director – Alexander Kladko
Designer – Boris Shlyamin
Lyrics – Boris Birman
Music Selection – Maxim Studenovsky
Light Design – Igor Tupikin
Choreography – Nikolai Kuglyant
Vocal Coach – Grigory Uglov
Sound Engineer – Polina Chernigovskaya
Stage Managers – Alyona Parshina, Svetlana Povalyaeva