How many paws does your cat have?  If you stopped by the Regina A. Quick Center’s black box theatre this past week to see “Rhinoceros,” you might have found the logical answer to this question, with the help of the Logician and the rest of the dynamic cast of Theatre Fairfield.

“Rhinoceros,” which originates from the classic modernist work of Eugene Ionesco, is a production that takes place in the theatre of the absurd.  While this play might not be the most orthodox production, it encourages the audience to think outside the box to catch the symbolism rooted in the story.

This particular play is all about the transcending issue of conformity that so many of us encounter in our lives.  This existentialist topic is portrayed in a theatrical fashion that plays at our levels of comprehension and view on what we can and cannot do in the public sphere.

Jacob G. Hofmann, the play’s director, says in the program that “Ionesco’s rich and imaginative narrative of the everyday citizens transforming into pachyderms not only gives audiences a glimpse into the world of the ‘existential dilemma’ but it also curiously offers us an unexpected insight into our own present day culture.”

Seeing this play absolutely confirmed this idea of the application of a more abstract method of thought to the tangible lives of each of us and gleaning a meaning from the experience.  But what is a Pachyderm?

Pachyderm is the biological name for an order of animals that includes, of course, the rhinoceros.  The basis of this play follows one main character, Berenger, played by Owen Corey, on his journey as an alcoholic who tries to make his way through the public and business sphere as all his friends and acquaintances turn into rhinoceroses.

He is accompanied by Jean, played by Franco Luzzi, who turns into a rhinoceros along with the other members of the cast.  This ordeal cannot be figured out even by the Logician himself, who is played by Brendan Freeman.

Berenger goes through the play trying to make sense of the atmosphere in which he is trying to progress and solidify a job, as well as pursue his love interest, Daisy, played by Lizzie Bateson.  The central story itself is really quite eclectically composed, as it draws from the individual stories and lives of each of the characters, which do not initially stream together.

This play exemplifies the iconic modernist fashion of composing a story from ideas that are not at first apparent but develop, with some independent thought, as the play goes on and we can then see the overarching cloak of a message.

Audience member Greg Pettit ’15 said, “I enjoyed how engaging the play was, and the absurdist humor really brought a new element that I was not expecting at first.”

The cast and crew of “Rhinoceros” delivered this complex motif to the audience flawlessly.  They took the many aforementioned aspects of the story and put them together in a way that was both captivating and very funny.

“Rhinoceros” was a play that was truly well done; one that followed the depictions of Ionesco’s original work and brought it to the Fairfield audience with flare and clarity.  If you did not get out to see “Rhinoceros,” go to the next Theatre Fairfield production; you will not be disappointed.

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