Read Three Plays: Rhinoceros / The Chairs / The Lesson by Eugène Ionesco Online


These three great plays by one of the founding fathers of the theatre of the absurd, are alive and kicking with tragedy and humour, bleakness and farce. In Rhinoceros we are shown the innate brutality of people as everyone, except for Berenger, turn into clumsy, unthinking rhinoceroses. The Chairs depicts the futile struggle of two old people to convey the meaning of lifeThese three great plays by one of the founding fathers of the theatre of the absurd, are alive and kicking with tragedy and humour, bleakness and farce. In Rhinoceros we are shown the innate brutality of people as everyone, except for Berenger, turn into clumsy, unthinking rhinoceroses. The Chairs depicts the futile struggle of two old people to convey the meaning of life to the rest of humanity, while The Lesson is a chilling, but anarchically funny drama of verbal domination. In these three 'antiplays' dream, nonsense and fantasy combine to create an unsettling, bizarre view of society....

Title : Three Plays: Rhinoceros / The Chairs / The Lesson
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ISBN : 9780140181043
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 473 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Three Plays: Rhinoceros / The Chairs / The Lesson Reviews

  • Greg
    2019-04-03 04:16

    These are my two Rhinoceroses. They guard my fridge from, well I'm not sure, but they do guard it. They have also adopted a baby hippo into their family, but the hippos not in the picture. The play is called Rhinoceros, not Rhinoceros and Baby Hippo, so that's why the Hippo was kindly told to go away for a bit. He did not like being told to go away, and is in the process of writing a musical about hippos, which he says will make more money than some stupid play where everyone is a Rhinoceros. Fucking Hippo. Not that I don't love the Hippo, I just don't want him getting his hopes up too high; he's not Elton fucking John, and I know he's not going to be writing The Lion King. I read these plays a while ago. I read Rhinoceros a bunch of times, and I don't remember much about it, except that it was about everyone being rhinoceroses. Chairs I don't remember at all, but I know I read it. I think it was an absurdist portrayal of society where everyone were chairs. It was kind of at the point where Ionesco was milking the everyon is a thing that they really couldn't be theme. The Lesson, if I remember it correctly was probably my favorite of the three. I think it was the one most explicitly about fascism. Maybe it wasn't though. That's the beauty of these new reviews of mine, I have even less idea of what I'm talking about than normally.

  • James Barker
    2019-04-17 06:27

    Three dramatic works by the master of absurdity, of which 'Rhinoceros' is the most successful, although 'The Chairs' has its moments of humour, melancholia and nonsense.When faced with the threat of becoming a rhinoceros, do you cling to the real world or find it preposterous?

  • Laura
    2019-04-12 00:09

    I had to perform a scene from the Rhinoceros with 3 classmates for a French class and it was certainly a great introduction to Ionesco's work. It gave us time to contemplate and embody the scene and I fell in love. I have great respect for absurd humour. It is difficult to pin down why it works so well when an author or performer pulls it off. It is a certain kind of intelligence that requires an understanding of the culture, the ability to read people and some another element that I like to think of as mysterious.

  • Carrie
    2019-04-22 01:00

    I really hate reading plays, but this was very funny and thought provoking. I'm excited to watch it, even if I didn't love reading it.

  • Allthatcraic
    2019-03-31 05:27

    Très drôle.

  • Frankie
    2019-04-01 02:08

    Totalitarianism, nuclear war, ideology prompted Ionesco to pen these confusing black comedies. I recommend you review the history of Europe during and after the Second World War to contextually comprehend these plays.Of note, read Rhinoceros. This particular piece of dramatic literature is humorous, and is the most accesible of Ionesco's absurdist literature.

  • David
    2019-04-20 00:10

    Read it in class taking parts. Great fun, good discussion. Stuck with me since high school. Can't say that about some of the other stuff we had to read.

  • Ozancan
    2019-04-11 23:26

    Henüz sadece Rhinoceros'u okudum ama dersler ve diğer yoğunluklardan bir süre diğer iki oyunu okuma fırsatım olmayacağı için finished diye işaretliyorum. Puanım Rhinoceros'a özgüdür.

  • S Moss
    2019-03-28 00:19

    The Absurd World Is Alive and Well, But Not on the StageBack when the avant-garde theatre revolved around Eugene Ionesco and other European playwrights, with a few Americans thrown in for good measure, Rhinoceros was one of his more comprehensible plays. It has a minuscule plot, an anti-hero of sorts and Ionesco’s logical conundrums are comprehensibly centered in a few characters, rather than taking over the whole play, as they do in Bald Soprano. Similarly cliches point up the limitations of the characters, rather than being a central focus as in Soprano, which he calls “The Tragedy of Language” (175) in his essay on the play collected in Notes & Counter Notes.Ionesco in his writings has clearly spelled out that Rhinoceros shows how tolitarianism takes hold of a country (this is not a play about conformism, he declares), and it’s also not a comedy but a “terrible farce and fantastic fable” (French production) or in essence a tragedy (German production, 207). Unfortunately, the American production baffled him because the “hard, fierce” character Jean is turned into a comic figure, while Beringer is made to seem “a kind of tough hard-headed intellectual, a kind of unruly revolutionary who knows quite well what he’s doing” (208) rather than the irresolute, reluctant man that Ionesco envisioned. He is put off by directors adding actions to his script, which he thinks is “sufficient” with his specific stage directions, and concluded that the American production was “intellectually dishonest” and turned Beringer into “the last of his species. He is lost. This is thought to be funny” (208). The tolitarianism depicted is German fascism, and the roots of the play are clearly in the world of pre- and post-World War II, as is elucidated in his “Preface” to an American school edition. He says his play is certainly anti-Nazi but is “mainly an attack on collective hysteria and the epidemics that lurk beneath the surface of reason and ideas but are nonetheless serious collective diseases passed off as ideologies once we realize that History has lost its reason, that lying propaganda masks a contradiction between the facts and the ideologies that explain them” (199). Deconstructing this rather ponderous pronouncement, collective hysteria is passed off as ideologies [or perhaps ideologies align with and manipulate collective hysteria] because history makes no sense, not least because language and logic no longer connect with facts, a dissonance concealed by the propaganda of ideologies. Jean, Botard and Dudard provide examples of such ideologies in the play. Accepting that the play is an attempt at “demystification” (199) of the rise of tolitarianism, Ionesco asserts that it provides “a fairly objective description of the growth of fanaticism, of the birth of a totalitarianism that grows, propagates, conquers, transforms a whole world and, naturally, being totalitarianism, transforms it totally. The play should trace and paint the different stages of this phenomenon” (209), a concept he could never convince the American director to accept. Similarly the play isn’t about conformism, for even non-conformism can be conformist, and “an anti-conformist play may be amusing; an anti-totalitarian not. It cannot be anything else but painful and serious” (209). In another essay, he becomes more specific about “hair-brained ideologies...the new plague of modern times” which create “Automatic systematized thinking, the idolization of ideologies screens the mind from reality, perverts our understanding and makes us blind...[They] dehumanize men and make it impossible for them to be friends notwithstanding...they get in the way of what we call co-existence” (207). As for the New York critic’s complaint that he hasn’t let “Beringer say what ideology inspired his resistance,” Ionesco says he distrusts intellectuals, who in fact were the “inventors of Nazism,” and “it is absurd to think for a whole world and give it some automatic philosophy: a playwright poses problems....An unworkable solution one has found for oneself is infinitely more valuable than a ready-made ideology that stops men from thinking.” Despite criticism that Ionesco didn’t provide a solution in his play, leaving the audience in a vacuum, “That is exactly what I wanted to do. A free man should pull himself out of vacuity on his own, by his own efforts and not by the efforts of other people” (210). This is clearly an existential approach to life that was not immediately palatable to Americans in the 1960s, barely through the sub-variety of fascism known as McCarthyism. In the Cahiers du College de Pataphysique, which is the “science of science and ultimate philosophy,” an approach that derives from Alfred Jarry, a French playwright and philosopher, and encompasses the belief that “we are all pataphysicians” (200), meaning we construct our own reality, Ionesco interviews himself in a more theoretical essay on the nature and purpose of theatre. As Ionesco’s ego and alter ego argue about his plays’ didacticism and the need for a play to be considered as a complete performance, the ego declares that his intent is to break the spell of bourgeois drama, which is “magic drama...that asks the audience to identify itself with the heroes of the play, drama of participation” (202). On the other hand, a people’s theatre “has a different mentality: it puts a certain distance between itself and the heroes of the play...It alienates itself from the theatrical illusion in order to watch the play with a clear mind and pass judgment on it” (202), which is clearly a Brechtian approach. But then he goes on to state that from the Greeks through Shakespeare even to “Negro spirituals” dramatic forms revolve around audience identification and participation, thus “everything prehistorical was bourgeois” (203). It doesn’t matter that the middle classes are the “product of the French Revolution, of our industrial civilization, of capitalism” (203). Ego claims that everyone in the play transforms themselves into rhinoceroses, and if the audience has identified, they should be disgusted with the play’s characters and themselves as well, for “Disgust alienates more completely than anything else....Disgust is lucidity” (203) and thus the audience will be brought to self-awareness. Some might also choose the “virtue of non-participation or alienation,” and if this is so then the play becomes a synthesis of a bourgeois and an anti-bourgeois play (203). But the essay ends with the remark that both men are talking rubbish.Clearly the reader (or more properly the viewer) of the play should not expect to find easy answers to characters’ inconsistent behavior or the play’s meaning. The stage action is both startling and certainly comical, with a woman dropping her groceries but keeping hold of her cat, and a number of simultaneous conversations overlapping with similar questions and responses. Even the appearance of the rhinoceroses is disturbing and comical, as the audience tries to grasp the idea of heavy, vicious animals charging through the stage (or even seemingly the audience). Of course, the manner in which the characters respond to these events will make them either intimidating and sinister or else laughable, so as Ionesco rightly complains the production can shift and even destroy his vision of the play. Possibly some of this difficulty comes from the fact that Americans are less involved with ideologies and intellectual activity than are most Europeans. Although it is clearly a fallacy, Americans tend to believe they don’t subscribe to an ideology, even though that is what the “American dream” and the vision of America leading the world to safety and democracy clearly is, even if not spelled out in any systematic form. Furthermore, a typical American director thinks of a play in terms of making it relateable to the audience, which, of course, is exactly what Ionesco doesn’t want. So in essence American theatre is still deeply embedded in the basic idea of bourgeois drama which is to present reality in such a way that the audience can “understand” it personally. Even American actors, following the American version of the Stanislavsky system, work to immerse themselves into the personality of their characters, and now are going to such extremes as changing their weight drastically in order to portray characters more “realistically.” Thus Ionesco’s type of play is very challenging for an American production and likely to appeal only to a limited audience more attuned to European theatrical traditions. Which is not to say that his warning about the appeal of ideologies (even if only vaguely recognized as such--distrust of government, love of gun possession, belief in the outsider as the societal savior, etc.) and their ability to transform unaware citizens into a herd of followers is inaccurate, as the 2016 Republican Presidential primary campaign clearly demonstrated.Ionesco relies on costume to comment on and identify his characters, with the dogmatic ones dressed following whatever pattern obtains in their group: Jean is the average, conformist middle-class citizen, who doesn’t hesitate to criticize Berenger, his best friend, for his sloppy manner of dress, his drinking, being unshaven and constantly being late. In fact, whenever they’re together Jean is critical, which he claims is his right, without being in the least concerned about his friend’s feelings. Berenger, on the other hand, is apologetic about himself, and at most complains about being bored with his job and life in their small town, “I just can’t get used to life” (7). But Jean asserts that “The superior man is the man who fulfills his duty” (7). Then the first off-stage appearance of the rhinoceroses occurs, creating confusion among the characters; a woman drops her groceries but keeps hold of her cat, which she is improbably carrying while shopping. Jean wants to protest to the town council, but Berenger remains detached from the incident, proposing far-fetched explanations how the beasts could appear. The logical Jean is aghast at Berenger’s imaginative propositions, pointing up one of Ionesco’s main themes: the deficiency of logic and the freedom of imagination, although this freedom is not without its burden as Berenger discovers at the end of the play when he’s left alone with no one to communicate with. This antithesis will continue throughout the play, with various forms of logic in the different ideologies being exposed for their deficiencies and rigidity.Logic, the foundation of the mind (which is the essence of a human), and truth, the presumed essence of reality, are the standards for pedants, such as Jean or the Logician, but Ionesco is always quick to show a logical paradox or contradiction that challenges their assumptions. Ultimately logic creates more confusion rather than resolves anything. Berenger explains that his drinking is due to his fear, which is “a sort of anguish, difficult to describe. I feel out of place among people, and so I take to drink...I’ve been tired for years. It’s exhausting to drag the weight of my own body about.... (17)...I don’t even know if I am me” (18). Although sounding like an average alcoholic, this is basically Sartre’s “nausea” at the absurdity of existence. As if to counterpoint this antithesis more strongly, the Logician and the Old Gentleman now engage in a conversation about logic, purporting to show its usefulness, while demonstrating the exact opposite, and when Berenger claims, “Life is an abnormal business,” Jean responds with pseudo-logic, “On the contrary. Nothing could be more normal, and the proof is that people go on living” (19), which cannot be the “proof” of an insufficient premise. These two separate conversations counterpoint each other in one of Ionesco’s favorite dramatic devices to show how separate conversations correlate or contradict each other because people and their thoughts are interchangeable (as happens in the Bald Soprano when the Martins replace the Smiths at the end of the play, and the play begins again). Jean’s final advice to Berenger is to immerse himself in his culture, so he will become more like everyone else, but when the latter invites the former to come with him to the theatre that evening, Jean replies he’s going for a drink with friends, showing himself for a hypocrite. The rhinos return and kill the woman’s cat, and the Logician comforts her with the statement “All cats are mortal” (27), showing logic cannot respond to emotional needs. Act I ends with arguments about the number of horns on the rhinos, with Jean again claiming to know the truth and confusing everyone about whether Asiatic or African rhinos have one or two horns. Logic can’t answer these questions either, but the Logician prides himself on correctly posing the problem (37), which still doesn’t help with the problem of rhinos trampling a cat to death.Act II, scene i, is the bureaucratic office where Berenger, Daisy, Botard and Dudard work. This sets up the scene for the two other rigid ideologues, Dudard, the excessively tolerant, scientific-focused intellectual who finds a way to adjust to everything because he can’t be intellectually discriminating, and Botard, the mouthpiece of the working class, rigidly anti-capitalist and anti-management, always seeing a scheme to exploit the worker. He distrusts newspapers, so doesn’t believe reports about the rhinos in town and thinks he’s logical, so will trust only his own senses (40). He thinks his own working-class education superior to that of his bosses who attended the university: “All you get at the universities are effete intellectuals with no practical knowledge of life” (41), a view that Ionesco seems to share, although not the rest of Botard’s beliefs. This is probably one of the more confusing (or thought-provoking) aspects of Ionesco’s plays: characters who are basically foolish may make statements that contain some aspect of a useful idea or Ionesco’s views. In effect Ionesco’s plays, while didactic, don’t have specific characters to present the author’s views, which are spread throughout the play and often need to be grasped by understanding the nature of what’s happening among the characters. This is especially true in Bald Soprano, and less so in Rhinoceros, where ultimately Berenger becomes the “anti-hero” and mouthpiece for the author.Because Botard is so rigidly convinced of his own views, he argues the others are engaging in a hoax, “You’ve been making all this propaganda to get these rumors started” (46). This argument is interrupted when Mrs. Boeuf appears to make excuses for her husband’s absence from work; it turns out he’s become a rhinoceros. In fact, a rhino has followed her to the office and is waiting downstairs, which all the characters cluster to see. They sense it’s waiting for someone, and finally Mrs. Boeuf recognizes her husband and leaps out the window onto his back. Botard, finally convinced of the rhino’s reality, declares, “You can count on the union’s support” (51), and later after the manager declares it’s one less worker to replace, “Our union is against your dismissing Mr. Boeuf without notice” (53). Now that he’s convinced of the rhinos’ reality, he declares, “I’m not content to simply state that a phenomenon exists. I make it my business to understand and explain it” (54). But he refuses to state his explanation, claiming the whole business is a traitorous plot, and he’ll expose the perpetrators. “Now the hallucination has become a provocation,” he insinuates threateningly (54). “I hold the key to all these happenings, an infallible system of interpretation” (55), which is a reference to Marxist ideology that claims to explain the historical development of society. As they clamber out the window with the help of firemen (who also show up in Bald Soprano), Botard threatens to find proof of their treason, “I don’t insult. I merely prove” (56). In a nutshell, these are the attitudes of a Marxist or Communist worker, who resorts to codified explanations and accusations instead of personally analyzing the reality and responding to it instinctively and accurately. Scene 2 is Jean’s room, where Berenger finds him gradually transforming into a rhino. Jean feels ill and is greenish in color, which deepens throughout the scene. Finally, he sprouts a horn on his forehead. Jean is still argumentative and unpleasant, while Berenger tries to apologize for their previous quarrel. Jean boasts that with his clear mind he’s in control of what happens to him, but the contrary occurs as he irresistibly turns into a rhino. Their argument reveals that Jean thinks anything that’s natural is superior to human’s moral values, “We need to go beyond moral standards!...Nature has its own laws. Morality’s against Nature.” (67), the opposite of his earlier encouragement of Berenger to immerse himself in the society’s culture. Such inconsistencies, common in Ionesco, are especially noticeable in this play where there is actual plot development. For the middle-class citizen, power (i.e., nature) now becomes the superior value, “Humanism is all washed up! You’re a ridiculous old sentimentalist....I’m all for change” (68). Here the focus is upon the transference of Jean’s earlier intellectual violence against Berenger into actual physical violence, when he declares he’ll trample Berenger.Act III is in Berenger’s room, where he’s worrying whether he’s beginning to undergo the same transformations as Jean. Dudard arrives to comfort him, but while Berenger exclaims over the fate of Jean, “such a warm-hearted person, always so human!...I felt more sure of him than of myself! And then to do that to me!” (74), clearly not the truth, Dudard criticizes Berenger for making himself the focus of his complaints. He, on the other hand, says he observes the facts and tries to explain them, using various corrupted scientific ideas, finally proposing an epidemic. Quickly they begin to discuss Berenger’s will-power (or lack thereof) as the way to handle his concerns, but the problem becomes more existential when Berenger professes an instinctive dread of the rhinos and furthermore, “I feel responsible for everything that happens. I feel involved. I just can’t be indifferent” (78). He wishes he could be more objective, as he would be if this had happened to other people in another country, but “when you find yourself up against the brutal facts, you can’t help feeling directly concerned” (79). Dudard encourages him to face up to the facts and accept them, as you can’t do anything about them, but Berenger calls that fatalism, while to Dudard it’s common sense. When Berenger contemplates going to the authorities for help (rather like Jean previously), Dudard questions whether he has any right to object, because “who knows what is evil and what is good? It’s just a question of personal preference” (80) and states Berenger will never “become a good haven’t got the vocation” (80). Berenger still worries that no one will take action, and then learns that their boss has turned into a rhino, which Dudard tries to explain psychologically. (Ionesco doesn’t have much belief in psychological explanations of people’s behavior, which he parodies just as he does logical explanations.) He notes how upset Botard was at this event, then launches into a critique of Botard’s approach, which he claims wasn’t “precise or objective...too passionate..and therefore over-simplified...entirely dictated by his hatred of his superiors. That’s where he got his inferiority complex and his resentment. What’s more he talks in cliches, and commonplace arguments leave me cold” (83). Dudard’s approach is to accept what happens and provide an explanation for it, which Berenger opposes and defends Botard as “somebody worthwhile...down-to-earth...I’m in complete agreement with him and proud of it” (83)

  • vasiliki
    2019-04-01 06:17

    The Lesson:Brilliant critique of totalitarianism in education!

  • GhostlyWriter
    2019-04-19 03:09

    This was so enjoyable!!! There were a few confusing parts, but besides that it was extraordinary!

  • Simon Mcleish
    2019-03-29 01:07

    Originally published on my blog here, here, and here in October 2001.RhinocerosIonesco's most famous play may have a surreal idea at its centre (that people are turning into rhinoceroses), but he uses this to say something about human nature while at the same time creating a drama which is by turns funny, surprising, and fascinating.In the first act, the main characters, Berenger and his friend Jean, are terrorised by the first rhinoceroses, running around the streets of the town causing lots of damage. It is only in the next scene, set in Berenger's office, that we discover that people are turning into the animals, as one of his colleagues destroys the building's staircase. Then everyone around Berenger starts to change - Jean, his colleagues and eventually the girl from his office that he had a crush on at a point when they believe they are the only remaining human beings. Finally, Berenger, alone, wonders why he can't change, begins to feel that his lack of a horn on his forehead makes him ugly, but ends with defiance against the idea of changing.Though the play is designed to make the audience think it has an ideological point, like one of Sartre's existentialist plays, for example, it doesn't really, in my opinion. The rhinoceroses can be interpreted, say, as people who have accepted a new totalitarian regime, but this identification can only be made vaguely, and it seems to be more that Ionesco is writing an absurdist version of this kind of drama, so that the animals do not need to have a meaning.The ChairsTwo old people prepare an auditorium for a lecture. They welcome large numbers of invisible guests, holding conversations with several of them including the Emperor. Then, when the lecturer arrives, he turns out to be deaf and dumb, unable to communicate except by sign language and gibberish written on a blackboard.The conversations between the old man and woman and their imaginary guests are reminiscent of Beckett. It has the world weariness, even if the wordplay is missing. It is not particularly funny on the page, unlike Rhinoceros and The Lesson, but could come alive on the stage.As with Ionesco's other plays, the question is whether it is meaningful or not, and, if it is, what that meaning is. There are several possibilities for the play's theme, if it has one, and the key element is what Ionesco wants to convey with the invisible characters. They are not likely to be imaginary, only present of the minds of the two old people, because the lecturer appears and the fantasy would have to be consistently shared by both of them. The implication is that any meaning the play has is to do with the audience's perception of these people, or possibly about their nature as characters in the play. The LessonThis is the only Ionesco play I have seen, and it is very funny on the stage. It describes a visit by a pupil to the house of someone who can only be described as a mad professor, who teaches her bizarre mathematics and ludicrous linguistics before attacking her with a knife.The mathematical jokes are similar to those involving the Logician in Rhinoceros, and The Lesson reads like a preparatory excercise for the later play, a less surreal version of that play's lighter moments.The Lesson is lighter than the other plays in this collection, and so unlike them it doesn't particularly seem to need to be supplied with a meaning.

  • Realini
    2019-03-29 05:29

    The Lesson by Eugen IonescoSince we’re dealing with absurd theater, I guess I could write anything I want and sell it for a review…After all, this not so much about a “lesson” as about the absurdity to claim that we know so much- it crossed my mind, or maybe the ridiculousness of some people who take degrees, without knowing the basics:The student in the play knows nothing about four minus three, but has learned by heart two billion seven hundred million twenty multiplied by something similar.I will not venture into the meaning of all this, maybe the author wanted to mock the tendency to get into ever more extravagant realms of science, forgetting the basics. My wild guess is that absurd theater is just that…absurd.It has a role to play in depicting the ever more grotesque happenings in the universe around, but as we cannot explain (very well) the fact that some Jihadists have made it on the cover of The Economist, after occupying big chunks of both Syria and Iraq, ready to launch the Jihad on the world. Mind you, these people are so crazy and fanatic that Al Qaeda declared them…outlaws and too radical…Can you imagine and beat that? Speaking of the absurd, Russian tanks roam some streets in the Ukraine…it seems out of an Ionesco play, and tanks in Europe, in this century are as believable as the rhinoceros on the streets, in the play bearing the same name.And yet, there they are., with the added note of real-absurd theater, that some supposedly local rebels have occupied the building of some theater, instead of the official town hall…local insurgents…yeah, right!Alhamdulillah, I live in a less absurd teritorry, ruled by a PM who stole his doctor’s degree. I had the chance to teach another such „doctor”a Jordanian, who was enrolled in the first year of Geology. But his algebra was in The Lesson by Eugen Ionesco, where the teacher is trying to teach the girl about four being bigger than three, I had to try and explain something like: there are some principles of algebra that you must learn, in fact should have known long ago, about ten years before you came to Romania...A postulate is a truth which doesn’t require demonstration...(a + b) =... I have said it before – I am not fond of Ionesco and may even sound unpatriotic: we have one writer who achieved fame in France and to a lesser degree around the world, and here I am expressing dislike. This may be treated as China or Cuba I may even go to jail, for the crime of lambasting a national hero.Albeit, the Chinese have a good number of disidents, appreciated artists who either rot in jail, live in exile or are simply banned...Wei Wei comes to mind, because of...his rather easy to remember name.A communist society is the incarnation of the absurd and I lived in the thick of it, one reason why the absurd kind of reppels me, unless it comes in the form of...Monty Python humorI, for one hope for less absurd theater in my country and around the world, you turn on the TV or read The Economist and find even in America, the leader of the world…Tea Party candidates, with some of the most extreme and strange beliefs beating fellow Republicans in their primaries…Eric Cantor is the latest, most prominent victimIn other words…less absurd theater, please God!Thank You!Insha’AllahNow that I have used two Arabic words, I have activated the NSA search algorithm and made it on the to-watch list, in another piece of…absurd

  • Vishal
    2019-04-11 23:10

    The great thing about absurdist cinema or drama or literature is that sometimes (for me at least), you don't have to truly 'get it' to enjoy it, be appalled, shocked or creeped out by it, or even be entertained. Ionesco is definitely one of the kingpins of absurd theater, and I found Rhinoceros to actually be the most 'normal', metaphorically obvious of the 3 plays here. Rhinoceros is existentialism through and through, where the main character is left isolated as the only human in a world that has turned into - you guessed it - rhinoceroses. The herd mentality and the difficulty of the individual to remain one was as significant in the post-war era this was written as it is today. The Chairs is even weirder, where a senile old couple welcome guests into their home - who are actually invisible - and start babbling incoherently about an important message they want to deliver, but never get around to it. It is then left to an Orator to take over and when he does, readers (and viewers) are in for a shock. The Lesson is another example of how Ionesco expertly escalates the absurdity and mania in his plays. It starts with a reticent professor welcoming a bright, confident student for private lessons until he begins to manipulate the power of knowledge and the roles are slowly reversed, building to a creepy ending and creepier final revelation. If I had to pick a favourite it would be this one, but Rhinoceros is a masterpiece in itself.

  • Danial fadaee
    2019-04-04 06:20

    کرگدن ِ اوژن یونسکو اثری است به شدت انسانی ، داستان مردمی که یکی یکی کرگدن می شوند ؛ از ویژگی های این اثر یکی اینکه همان اول با شخصیت برانژه احساس نزدیکی می کنی – اول فکر کردم شاید فقط من این احساس را داشته ام ، مصاحبه ی یونسکو را که خواندم دیدم نه مثل اینکه من تنها نیستم – ولی چرا با برانژه ، واقعا ً معلوم نیست ، می توان گفت به خاطر ِ روحی که یونسکو در این نمایشنامه دمیده است .همانطور که کور شدن ِ آدم ها را در کوری به راحتی ِ آب خوردن باور می کنیم یا اتفاقات ِ عجیب ِ توی بالتازار و بلموندا را ، اینجا هم به راحتی باور می کنیم که آدم ها نه تنها دارند کرگدن می شوند که کرگدن ها را دور و بر ِ خودت می بینی ، موجوداتی تنها ، غریزی ، دارای میل ِ شدید به خراب کردن ، در انواع مختلف ِ تک شاخ ، دو شاخ ، آسیایی ، آفریقایی و ... ، با پوست ِ کلفتی که خبر از تحمل ِ رنج های بسیار و به ویژه رنج تنهایی می دهد .کسانی که اثر را خوانده باشند می دانند که آقای شاهپرک از طرف ِ دیزی – هرچند به صورت ِ جزیی – احساس ِ بی مهری می کند و کرگدن می شود ؛ دودار وقتی در جمع ِ سه نفره ی دودار ، برانژه و دیزی احساس مزاحمت برای آن دو می کند کرگدن می شود دیگران و دیگران و دیگران هم هر کدام به نوعی از جمعی کنار گذاشته می شوند و کرگدن می شوند ( ژان ، خود ِ برانژه در آخر کتاب ، آقای گاب و...)1

  • Ryan Heaven
    2019-03-26 22:18

    Where to start with this Absurdist masterpiece? Maybe with that the fact that it's absurd - in a good way! People turning into rhinoceroses, flawed logic, break down in communication, a trampled cat... it gets pretty crazy. On the page it's thought provoking and intriguing, but I feel it's something you need to see on the stage (which I intend to do!) The sounds of the rhinos, for example, are absent when reading: one can imagine the trumpeting, drums and roars but this should definitely be experienced in the theatre.Aside from that, I really liked it. In places, there were confusing passages and tedious logical arguments but the random subject matter kept me interested. I particularly liked how the rhinos are symbols for mass hysteria, Fascism and its dangers. So although on the surface the play can come across as quite comical, its messages are incredibly serious. Don't follow the crowd and turn into a rhino, okay?

  • Abi
    2019-04-03 03:00

    This review is purely of the play The Chairs. I do at some point want to read the other plays within this collection, but I had to read The Chairs because I am studying it in drama at college.It is probably the weirdest play I have ever read. I get that it's meant to be abstract, but still. I don't know, my rating will probably go up once I've studied it in class and understood it a bit more, but I just found it really weird, and I had to force myself to read it. It is definitely not something that I would pick up for myself, and I wouldn't really recommend it. I think it would be much better actually seeing this live, because the staging is quite complex, and I struggled imagining it, but I think the staging plays a key role in understanding the play.

  • Emilie
    2019-03-26 05:05

    This is one of my four literature books I have to have read prior to the end of next month and since I've only completed one other than this so far (see: Pygmalion), I've been concerned that I was not going to have enough time. So, as I am thus 338 pages into Jane Eyre (another literature book), I figured that Ionesco's three plays would be an easy enough read. I do not give this book two stars, I give it at least two and a half. Never has a book been able to evoke such giggles, discomfort and confusion all at once. Better than Pygmalion, but still not as enjoyable as Jane Eyre continues to be. Maybe Ionesco just is not my cup of tea and that is completely okay, I am sure I may come to appreciate it more after a second reading.

  • Sam
    2019-04-10 02:21

    More absurd drama. Rhinoceros is an effective metaphor on totalitarian regimes, The Chairs ponders how we can make what we leave behind be heard, how to leave an impression, and The Lesson is a more or less humorous take on the abuse of power. Ionesco is self-referential, witty and more than amazing: His plays take on a large number of thought-provoking topics while never leaving out humour. The Chairs is certainly the hardest play to grasp, leaving the reader behind with a speech by a mute and the phrase Angepain written on a blackboard. Angelbread can mean anything and nothing – and is thus perfectly absurd. 4/5

  • Maryse
    2019-04-09 05:59

    Frankly, I haven't read the book but I saw the play and I loved it. A bit on the weird side (ok, on the very weird side) but I love the absurdity of it. One of my friends who came to see it with me said it was stupid, and I suddenly realized that I was one of the few people laughing at the theater. It was funny how society was slowly turning into Rhinoceroses, leaving the protagonist the only "normal" person left, only to realize that if everyone was a rhinoceros, doesn't that make him the abnormal? Tragic and funny, but I guess not for everyone.

  • Niraj
    2019-04-23 03:21

    The master of the Theatre of the absurd. If you want to delve into the genre, this collection containing three of Ionesco's best is the best place to begin. On the surface, absurdist behaviour, making sense of a universe without an order/structure - but underneath, we see the more difficult human drives which make us being explored - society and its values, age, sexuality, religion. As Jean says in Rhinoceros: 'There's an Ionesco play showing. I think you ought to see it'. Change that to read it.

  • Jasmine
    2019-04-17 01:29

    "Rhinoceros" and "The Lesson" were both very interesting plays to read. However I found that "The Chairs" would be far more engaging performed than read as it would have a greater effect on the audience than trying to imagine it. Of course,all of the plays would be quite interesting seen and even if the chance arose, to perform.

  • Nasim
    2019-04-19 04:03

    The Rhino is the symbol of a sudden wave that attacks the society. It is like the book "La Peste" Of Albert Camus. They talk about the same thing.In Rhinoceros the only character who is rejected by the standard of the society doesn't convert to a Rhino....and that shows there is nothing as a reality of living...we just make it the way it is....

  • Lisbeth Solberg
    2019-04-14 22:09

    This captivated me when I first read it, which was sometime between high school and getting my own apartment, I think. I saw the play performed somewhere, too--where?Entirely different beast than the one in The Gods Must Be Crazy. Sort of a non-sequitur, but really, how many rhinoceros stories are there? Is there one by Kipling?

  • Sydnie
    2019-04-13 04:16

    This is theatre of the absurd at its finest. Ionesco has such a gift with words and knows how to use them (and sometimes seemingly misuse them) to evoke rhythms, strange meanings, and some of the most humorous plot-lines, while still contributing to the ever-present absurdist questions: how can we make sense of a universe that gives us no answers?

  • Mattie
    2019-04-01 02:16

    I reread this wonderful play a few weeks ago and found it as funny and satisfying as ever. Inonesco has his dark gluey view of the world but also a comic touch that is accessible even in translation. But of course great in French. A great book to teach with as the language is easy and the dialogue fun.

  • Ali
    2019-04-07 05:20

    یونسکو مذهب را نمایشی از اطاعت و همنوایی، و آرمان گرایی را جلوه ای از خودبیگانگی تلقی کرده است. در مورد "تیاتر ابزورد" اینجا را بخوانید

  • Heidi (KosminenK)
    2019-04-13 00:23

    Rhinoceros about rising of a totalitarian political system? The absurd craziness of sudden changed status quo. The paranoia.The Chairs and The Lesson drifting in time and insanity... Difficulties in communication.

  • Ben Gwalchmai
    2019-04-04 00:04

    Ionescu is considered to be one of the forerunners of, what Martin Esslin termed, The Theatre of The Absurd.What that title doesn't give you is just how sociopathically, relatably, human the plays are.These are a great companion to the plays Camus won the Nobel for too.

  • Vira
    2019-04-17 06:28

    I read it really fast because it's easy to read and it was easy to get the main idea of the author. The idea of people becoming all the same during the process of globalization will always be up-to-date. The book does have, of course, a lot of other themes, which are important to be discussed.