What would you think if you saw a rhinoceros running down your main street or through a public square? Eugene Ionesco’s full-length comedy is filled with wordplay and slapstick as it poses both silly and profound questions for the characters and the audience to consider. Classified in the genre of Theatre of the Absurd, Ionesco’s masterpiece remains as relevant today as it was when first produced in France in 1960.
The performance is in the university’s Black Box Theatre in the Hub. Performances are at 8 p.m. Nov. 12-14 and 3 p.m. Nov. 15. The theater has only 60 seats so reservations are recommended. They can be made Nov. 2-10 by calling 937-772-9315. Reserved tickets should be picked up at the Hub 7:30-7:45 p.m. on performance nights and 2:30-3 p.m. for the Sunday matinee. Only 40 seats will be reserved and the remaining will be available as general seating on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 7:30 p.m. each night and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Urbana University students Amanda Arnold, Joseph Brown, Scott Godby, Savannah Hostetler, Zack Moore, Garrett Nott, and Wayne Miller, Associate Dean of Accreditation and Institutional Effectiveness at Franklin University, play the confused residents and workers of a small French provincial town. They witness the rhino charge along with three main characters, Berenger, Jean and Daisy, played by Brad Anderson, Heather Berry and Keara Henry. Berenger and Daisy are later joined by Logan Brown, Jessica Combs, Cameron Harmon as co-workers and Jaclyn Korte as a colleague’s wife. All face a decision about what to do when their community makes a profound change.
The production is directed by Margaret Piatt, assistant professor and director of theatre at Urbana University, who also supervises the student crew, including Hillary Bancroft, Johnathon Barbee, Taylor Bodey, Mason Dail, Maude Demers, Dereck Givens, Bri Haines, Heather Huffman, Preston Jenkins, Angie Kerth, Zel Larkin, Ashley Lewis, Dale Madison, Kathleen Ollhoff, Katie Portner, Kimberly Puthoff, Jackie Smith, Morgan Wagner, Allie West and Jacey Wright.
Additional support and instruction is provided by professional theater artists and technicians: Pam Clouse, Michael Hurwitz, Don McBride, Tom Murphy and James White. Sound effects are created by student musicians, including Heather Berry, Logan Boggs, Canaan Gray, Cameron Harmon, Nikki Holthaus, Zack Moore and Garrett Nott.