Article: Rhinoceros’ goes to church — thanks to WSU’s Studio Theatre.

The original article may be found here.

Patty Nolan

Detroit Theater Examiner

A Rhinoceros at church? It’s true.  Sort of.

For nearly fifty years the Studio Theatre, downstairs at the Hilberry, has presented great theatre featuring Wayne State University undergraduate students. Now, with generous support from WSU Theatres’ patrons and donors, the Studio Theatre is undergoing a massive renovation.  The second show of the Studio Theatre season will be staged at the First Unitarian Universalist Church, located only one block away from the Hilberry.

That play is a production of everyone’s favorite absurdist play, Rhinoceros, by Eugène Ionesco. The show opened during last week’s blizzard, but you can still catch it February 10-12, with performances at 8:00 p.m.

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.  He plays the ‘everyman’ who is often criticized for his tardiness and his tendency to drink too much whiskey.

Ionesco originally wrote Rhinoceros as a response to the uprising of Communism and Fascism during the runup of events to WWII, with rhinoceroses representing Nazis. But director Greg Bailey has a fresh spin on this classic rage against conformity.

Bailey, a third-year PhD candidate, 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.

Rhinoceros plays at The First Unitarian Universalist Church through February 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 the website, 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 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on performance nights.

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