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BAM Presents Théâtre de la Ville’s RHINOCEROS, Now thru 10/6

BAM presents the New York premiere of Théâtre de la Ville's production of Ionesco's absurdist classic, Rhinoceros, directed by the Paris-based company's artistic director, Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota. Both the company and the director are making their BAM debut. Written in 1959, the play is a satire on social conformity and a commentary on fascism

in pre-World War II Europe. Its protagonist, Béranger, is faced with the steady transformation of his townspeople into rhinoceroses. As the only human who does not succumb to this mass metamorphosis, Béranger is at the core of an examination of free will, conformity, and morality.

Rhinoceros was originally staged by Demarcy-Mota and Théâtre de la Ville in 2004; of the production's current reprisal Le Point said, "Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota addresses Ionesco with a freshness and relevance that transforms the anti-totalitarian pamphlet into an eternal allegory of horror. It is in no way foregone."

The director has said that he was drawn to the play because he saw "an evolution toward conformism in our society…at a time when individual thinking seems to be disappearing."

Speaking about restaging his 2004 production, Demarcy-Mota said he wanted the actors to "go further in depth in all of the scenes and develop the internal mechanics of the play to enhance each character's deepest anxiety."

Staged in three seamless acts without intermission, the production fully utilizes the space of the stage to create a town square, an office, and an apartment building in quick succession. Performing on two levels of movable platforms, the cast of 13 enacts Ionesco's nightmarish world in which people are slowly but irrevocably turning into rhinoceroses, often balancing precariously on the platforms. Jefferson Lembeye's music fuses electronic sounds and instruments to paint an atmosphere of lurking danger with increasing intensity.

The production's cast includes Serge Maggiani (Béranger), Hugues Quester (Jean), and Céline Carrère (Daisy), among others.

In addition, a Next Wave Talk will be held on October 5 at 5pm to explore the theatrical world of Ionesco. The distinguished panelists include director Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota, renowned playwrights Edward Albee and Israel Horovitz, and Ionesco's daughter Marie-France Ionesco. The panel will be moderated by Tom Bishop, Florence Gould Professor of French Literature at New York University. It is presented free of charge, hosted by La Maison Française, and held at the Rosenthal Pavillion at NYU's KimMel Center.

Most recently awarded with France's highest honor, the Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur, Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota was the youngest artistic director of Théâtre de la Ville when he was appointed to the position in 2008. He has also served as general director of the Festival d'Automne in Paris since 2011. From 2002 to 2008 he was artistic director of La Comédie de Reims, and was the founding director of Compagnie des Millefontaines in 1988. Productions he has staged for Thé?tre de la Ville include Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author, Brecht's Man is Man, and Fabrice Melquiot's Wanted Petula and Bouli année zero. His production of Melquiot's Le Diable en partage was awarded the Critics' Award for Best Creation in French in 2004. He received the Artistes sans frontières award in 2009. Demarcy-Mota is the son of Portuguese actress Teresa Mota and French director-playwright Richard Demarcy. Rhinoceros marks Demarcy-Mota's BAM debut.

Théâtre de la Ville was created in 1968 under the auspices of the City of Paris. Dedicated to "art in the diversity of its theatrical, choreographic, and musical forms" as stated by its founder, Jean Mercure, Théâtre de la Ville has over the years become one of the most important cultural landmarks in Paris, mostly through its multidisciplinary and international productions in dance and music. Théâtre de la Ville is funded by the City of Paris and, with its two venues, a 1,000-seat hall in the heart of Paris and the more intimate 400-seat theater in Montmartre, offers close to 100 different programs each season. Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota has further diversified the audience by introducing productions in foreign languages, educational activities and programs for young people. In 2011, its audience exceeded 280,000. Rhinoceros marks Théâtre de la Ville's BAM debut.

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