Notre Dame Film, Television, and Theatre kicks off 2017-2018 Theatre Season with 1960 anti-fascist play RHINOCEROS

Author: Stacey Stewart

Rhinoceros image

Notre Dame’s Department of Film, Television, and Theatre (FTT) announces ND Theatre NOW: Rhinoceros by Eugène Ionesco, translated by Derek Prouse, September 28 – October 8, 2017. Inspired by the rise of European fascism in the 1940s and first produced in 1960, Ionesco’s exploration of conformity and resistance remains uncomfortably relevant in 2017. 


A rhinoceros suddenly appears in the streets. Then another. One by one, townspeople succumb to an epidemic that transforms them into rhinos, until only one resists.


“I never believe journalists. They’re all liars,” announces one character in act 2. “You get used to it, you know,” declares another. “Nobody seems surprised anymore to see herds of rhinoceroses galloping through the streets. They just stand aside, and then carry on as if nothing had happened.” As he struggles to make sense of a world gone mad, the protagonist observes, “You don’t know what’s normal and what isn’t anymore.”


In Notes and Counter Notes, Ionesco himself described Rhinoceros as “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 totalitarian, transforms it totally.”


Directed by FTT senior Abbey Schnell, Rhinoceros is presented under the auspices of ND Theatre NOW, an annual slot in FTT’s mainstage season that features a production realized entirely by student artists. “I chose Rhinoceros because I was struck by the way Ionesco is able to make us laugh even as he reveals certain truths to us,” says Schnell. “The idea that a human being can suddenly transform into a rhinoceros is absurd and, more often than not, hilarious, but Ionesco takes it a step further and dares us to ask what it means in a way that is topical, chilling, and absolutely engaging. It’s a play that challenges us to stand up to the often crazy world we live in with courage and humor."



Student $7, Faculty/Staff/Senior (65+) $12, General $15.  Additional discounts available for groups of 10 or more.  Buy a subscription ($22 student - $33 faculty/staff/senior - $44 general) and save 25-35%.  Subscription packages include one ticket to all four shows and have added benefits.  Tickets may be purchased online, by phone at 574-631-2800, or in person at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center ticket office. Ticket office hours are Monday­-Friday, 12:00-6:00 pm.

PARKING:  Free parking is available daily after 5:00 pm in the Stayer Center parking lot, just north of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.  Patrons may now receive free event parking at the Eddy Street Commons Parking Garage by bringing your event tickets and parking ticket to the DPAC Ticket Office to receive a pre-paid parking voucher. An accessible lot for disabled patrons is available immediately adjacent to the center; a valid hangtag or license plate is required.  There is a ten-minute parking zone on the north drive of the center for ticket pick-up; during inclement weather you are welcome to drop off guests in this area and proceed to parking.

Note:  The Notre Dame campus experiences increased traffic during home football game weekends. If you are planning to attend a performance during these weekends, we suggest allowing an extra 30 minutes to arrive and find parking.


Notre Dame’s Department of Film, Television, and Theatre seeks to inspire intellectual inquiry and nurture creativity. We offer both a scholarly and a creative context for the general liberal arts student at Notre Dame as well as those students seeking intensive preparation for advanced study in these fields.  The hands-on nature of our curriculum, coupled with a very high degree of student-faculty interaction, provides students with a singular educational opportunity at a university known for its teaching excellence. The FTT performance season is a direct outgrowth of the department’s academic program and an integral component of our students’ artistic development.

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