Friday, July 28, 2017

RHINOCEROS …in Venice



 


It’s not often you see a full grown man transform into a large thick-skinned mammal before your very eyes but mastermind director Guillermo Cienfuegos makes it happen. In fact, from all accounts he pulls this trick himself, onstage, in this madcap drama by playwright Eugene Ionesco. 



It’s about a delightful French town where friendly locals are faced with a dilemma – whether to hold on to their humanity or be sucked into the miasma of becoming unfriendly beasts! As these characters become rhinos we can see the contentment in embracing a herd mentality.
 
Although written in 1959, it’s a prescient view of today where it appears that standing ones ground for humanity is under attack. Ionesco‘s alarmingly absurd tale grew out of his own youthful experience in Romania when he saw people drawn into acceptance of the rise of Fascism. 
To quote him: “When people no longer share your opinions, when you can no longer make yourself understood by them, one has the impression of being confronted with monsters - rhinos, for example. They have that mixture of candor and ferocity. They would kill you with the best of consciences.” 

The highly impressive cast is headed by Keith Stevenson as the bewildered holdout and Alex Fernandez as his loquaciously demonic friend; with dynamic support from Peter Elbling, Jeff Lorch, Carole Weyers, Melissa Weber Bales. And, in multiple roles, Brad Greenquist, Sarah Zinsser, Robert Lesser, Sarah Brooke & Dalia Vosylius with Melinda West on accordion.

At Pacific Resident Theatre, 703 Venice Blvd., Venice, through September 10. Tickets: (310) 822-8392 or www.pacificresidenttheatre.com. Free Parking.
Photos by Vitor Martins.

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