Loosely based on the story by Eugène Ionesco
Youth ballet production / ages 12 and up
We feel strong in a group. In a mass of people we can disappear, be carried along and surrender responsibility. How does a “trend” become a mass movement that contradicts all reason and when does it become dangerous?
A rhinoceros rampages through town in a menacing gallop. It is soon followed by a second one, then a third… But these are no escaped animals – the people of the town themselves are turning into pachyderms. Bérenger is the only one who ponders why more and more people succumb to the fascination exerted by the raw power of the wild animals. As rhinoceros, they all become brothers and equals. In return, however, they sacrifice their individuality and independent thinking, thus losing what is the true foundation of brotherhood: humanity. Those who are not part of the all-destroying horde are segregated and soon only Bérenger has the courage to oppose the tremendous power of the majority. Even his love for Daisy cannot withstand the madness of the mass manipulation.
Inspired by Eugène Ionesco’s absurdist play “Rhinoceros”, the Salzburg ballet ensemble explores issues of humanity and individuality versus blind obedience and totalitarianism through dance. The thrilling images created by the dancers illustrate the power we can develop as individuals by following our conscience and ideals – against propaganda and the pressure of the masses.
“Rhinoceros” premiered in 1959 and was an instant global success for Romanian-French playwright Eugène Ionesco (1909–1994). On German stages the play was interpreted as a metaphor for the Nazi regime, but Ionesco wanted to go much deeper. He used the means of Absurdist Theatre to discuss totalitarian structures and conformism of any kind and to issue a political warning.
Alexander Korobko, Josef Vesely and Kate Watson have already fascinated young audiences with their versatile choreographies in many previous productions. With “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”, for instance, they showed how dance can produce grand effects even in small spaces. After “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” for ages 10 and up, the Kammerspiele stage now presents the first ballet production for young audiences aged 12 and up.