– How would you stage Ionesco’s Rhinoceros ? Our 3 staging ideas rely on how to interpret and represent the rhinoceros.
1. Absent to the eye, present to the ear. Everytime someone turns into a rhino, the person leaves the stage. In the end Berenger is left all alone and the rhinos come back through sound effects, surrounding the audience.
3. “Naturalistic” rhinos. The actors would actually turn into rhinos with costumes and start behaving like animals while altering the environment, turning it into a jungle by adding setting elements.
2. Symbolized rhinos. The rhinos would be represented by suppressing the actors’ ability to communicate with the non-rhino actors. Their voices would be altered through a microphone, turning their words into gibberish or animal sounds.
Pushing further : the vocal rhino
First, we asked ourselves some questions :
- what portion of the story do we tell ?
- what is the position of the audience ?
- what is the timeline of the performance ?
- what do we say to the actors ?
- what is the system ? game / performance / a play / an impro
Then we focused on the fact that what we want to show with this voice-altered-rhino is people that cannot communicate anymore, so we thought of adapting Ionesco’s play to a family diner where at some point people would start to fight (one of them asks for a veggie option for the Christmas diner) and not be able to communicate anymore. We thought of the following elements to structure the performance :
- Actors establish their characters and the family tree
- Put a glass as fourth wall –> they are in cage
- Begin with the jungle/savannah sounds –> organise the sound in space
- Be careful not to demonised the rhino
- Create a crescendo of the rhino sounds
- The actors don’t know what the audience hears –> other elements than the voices can be altered too
- Sound and sight are disconnected (for example : if someone smashes a plate, the audience could hear a car crashing)
The main issue is sound