The Studio Ph.D. Directors series continues with Rhinoceros

The second show of the Studio Theatre season will be a production of Rhinoceros by Eugène Ionesco at The First Unitarian Universalist Church, located at 4605 Cass Ave. only one block away from the Hilberry Theatre. Performances will be at 8 p.m. on February 3-5 and 10-12, 2011.

Rhinoceros is an absurdist play in which every character makes the decision to “move with the times” and transform into a rhinoceros. The only character to resist conforming to the “rhinoceros movement” is the central character, Berenger, the “everyman” who is often criticized for his tardiness and his tendency to drink too much whiskey.  Rhinoceros was originally written as a response to the uprising of Communism and Fascism during the runup of events to WWII, with rhinoceroses representing Nazis.

Director Greg Bailey, a third-year PhD candidate, takes a different approach to the play. Instead of representing the Nazi uprising, he brings the play to the 21st century by having the rhinoceroses represent societies’ need for and reliance on modern, advanced technology. Bailey’s portrayal of the rhinoceroses as “techno-conformists” is a commentary on how people have lost their individuality and have succumbed to the pressure of the media to always be “up to date” with the newest technological advances. Even though he is often criticized in the play, Berenger’s resistance to conform to the pressures of the media and society is the reason he maintains his humanity.

The cast includes Patrick Loos (Detroit, MI) as Berenger, Andrick Siegmund (Pleasant Ridge, MI) as Jean, Annabelle Young (Dearborn, MI) as Daisy, Joe Gehart (Shelby Township, MI) as Dudard/Grocer, Robbie Dwight (Detroit, MI) as Botard/Proprietor, Jacqueline Michnuk (Dearborn, MI) as Boeuf/Waitress, Alyssa Lucas (Garden City, MI) as Papillon/Grocer’s Wife, Taurean Hogan (Detroit, MI) as the Logician, Matthew Miazgowicz (Dearborn, MI) as the Old Gentleman, and Allison Fisher (Birmingham, MI) as the Housewife.

The production team includes Alex Bleau as assistant director, Anne Suchyta as costume designer, Anthony Karpinski as scenic designer, Chelsea Carter as lighting designer, Troy Bohling as sound designer, Biz Greenwald as properties master, Mike Waldrup as production stage manager and Richard L. Fosbrink as publicity manager.

Rhinoceros plays at The First Unitarian Universalist Church February 3-5 and February 10-12, 2011. The First Unitarian Universalist Church is located on the corner of Cass and Forest at 4605 Cass Ave., Detroit, MI 48202.

Ticket prices range from $10-$12. Discounts are available to all students, senior citizens aged 62 and up, and WSU faculty, staff and Alumni Association members. For tickets and more information please call (313) 577-2972, visit www.wsushows.com or visit the Wayne State University box office at 4743 Cass on the corner of Cass and Hancock.  The box office is open Tuesday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on performance nights.

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