Author (Greek version): Anastasia Michail
Photographer & Artist
Translation: Maria Ourani
Millions of thoughts flood my mind prompted by Ionesco’s play “Rhinoceros”. Questions, thoughts and often intense concerns. The play that we will bring to life through the theatre this year is the versatile, full of messages script of such a concerned author. I wonder if we will be the ones to bring it to life, or if the play is already alive. Around us, every day. A city of unsuspecting “people” is suddenly filled with rhinoceroses. The people of the city, to be specific, turn into rhinoceroses one after the other. A play about fascism, about the way in which humanity is infected by this “rhinoceritis”, about the way in which the world sinks into it without anyone realizing it.
It is very interesting to observe each character in the play, one by one. Each of them, all of them, are at first shocked by the rhinoceroses. They do not understand how it can be their own city the one that is filled with rhinoceroses. They do not accept it, it seems unacceptable to them, unforgivable. They cannot even stand the idea, unforgivable! Nevertheless, one by one, although at first they hate the grunt coming out of a rhinoceros and they are disgusted by hearing it, they eventually start hearing it as a beautiful melody. The very same people that once hated and loathed the grunt, are now madly jealous of it. They applaud it, they are enchanted by it. They become rhinoceroses themselves, “monsters” do not bother them anymore, they do not disgust them anymore. They become monsters themselves. I wonder, this question echoes in my mind for days now, for so many days that I cannot ignore it any longer:
-Will we bring the play back to life with this performance, or will we point at an existing situation?
It is shocking the way in which the characters stop regarding the rhinoceros the worst pachyderm that there is, the way in which they start closing their ears to his grunt and they start to transform. It is scary, I dare say, appalling and at the same time Infinitely realistic. The idea scares me, the comparison to the present scares me. The idea that our play does not simply have a relative connection to the past but, on the contrary, it is a comment and a promotion of the present, scares me. I try so hard not to look closely at the signs all around me, not to answer this question. I try to convince myself that “Rhinoceros” is just a play of remembrance, a play of the past -that it has no connection to the present. How could It have anyway?
-What does our era have to do with these?
-What do we have to do with rhinoceroses and rhinoceritis?
I try, I try, I am telling you the truth. I try not to look around me, not to really look. I try, but it is probably in vain. Unfortunately, probably “Rhinoceros” will not be brought to life again in the theatre. Unfortunately, theatre will once again function as a torch on a reality that we are too afraid to look at. A torch can only shed light on something that actually exists. Unfortunately, we will reproduce a miniature of the present. We will not resemble the past. Unfortunately, the past was never totally erased so that we can carelessly resemble it. We never really left it behind us. It is sad, painful, scary. What a horrible realization.
I really tried, but unfortunately in vain.