David Eden Productions has announced initial details of a major US tour, presenting today, September 21 and September 22, 2012 the American premiere engagement of the Theatre de la Ville-Paris production of Rhinoceros, by Eugene Ionesco, directed by Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota, in Los Angeles at Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA (CAP UCLA), with subsequent presentations to follow in Berkeley at Cal Performances on September 27, 28, and 29 (matinee), and in Ann Arbor at University Musical Society (UMS) on October 11, 12, and 13.
Theatre de la Ville's revival of Rhinoceros is a co-production with the Grand Theatre de Luxembourg and Le Grand T, scene conventionnee de Loire-Atlantique (Nantes, France). The production’s Paris premiere in 2004 was met with critical and popular acclaim, with the show playing in France and touring in Europe through 2006. The production was remounted by Theatre de la Ville in Paris in 2011. The 2012 US tour is produced by David Eden Productions, in coordination with a New York presentation at BAM independent of the national tour.
The Theatre de la Ville' production of Rhinoceros has been hailed for demonstrating an illuminating and insightful approach to Ionesco’s celebrated play, skillfully setting astonishing moments of physical theater and movement in a staging that equally showcases the haunting beauty of Ionesco’s words and his singular vision for the stage. Remaining true to the spirit and letter of play, the Theatre de la Ville production rekindles the staggering sense of urgency and risk conveyed by the script, as it depicts the struggle of one man to maintain his identity and integrity as an individual alone in a world where others have successively yielded to the inevitable domination of brute force. Rhinoceros is often cited as Ionesco’s finest play.
Born in 1909 in Slatina, Romania, Eugene Ionesco would become one of the most iconic figures of modern literature and remain a celebrated figure, alongside Samuel Beckett, Jean Genet, and Harold Pinter, as a central dramatist of the Post War canon that Martin Esslin famously termed, “Theatre of the Absurd.” Rhinoceros was first conceived as a short story, published in 1957 in a volume called The Colonel’s Daughter, before being adapted into a three-act play. The play premiered at the Ode?on in Paris in January 1960 to excellent reviews. The play’s protagonist, Be?renger, has many parallels to Ionesco, who in real life between 1948 and 1955 worked as a proofreader at a publisher of law books. Ionesco was made a member of the Acade?mie franc?aise in 1970. He died in 1994 and is buried in Paris’ Montparnasse Cemetery.
The son of Portuguese actress Teresa Mota and French director and playwright Richard Demarcy, stage director Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota has been active in theater since his days as a student at the Lycee Rodin and the Universite? Paris Descartes (University of Paris V), around which time he founded Theatre des Millefontaines. At age 20, Demarcy-Mota began a five-year artistic residency near Paris at the Theatre de la Commune-National Drama Center in Aubervilliers and at the cultural center, Le Forum, in Blanc-Mesnil. In 2001, Demarcy-Mota was appointed director of
La Comedie de Reims/National Drama Center, where he set up an artistic collective focused on new work specifically intended to reach new audiences. In Reims, Demarcy-Mota continued his collaboration with Francois Regnault, with their creative ensemble comprising writer Fabrice Melquiot, designer Yves Collet, musician Jefferson Lembeye, and fifteen actors (ten of whom appear in Rhinoceros).
In 2008, Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota was named director of Theatre de la Ville; in May 2011, he was additionally appointed Director of Festival d’Automne a Paris. In May 2012, he was recognized as Chevalier de l'ordre de la Le?gion d'honneur by France Minister of Culture.
Theatre de la Ville and the US tour of Rhinoceros receive support from Mairie de Paris, Institut Francais, the cultural services of the French Embassy/Ambassade de France, Societe des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques, and Vivendi.
Several names have identified at various times in the past 150 years of Parisian history the theaters that frame Chatelet square. Designed by Gabriel Davioud under a commission by Baron Haussmann in the 1860s, the Theatre Lyrique would later be known as the Theatre Historique, Theatre des Nations, and from 1899 until the Second World War, as the Theatre Sarah Bernhardt, after the renowned actress who produced work there for twenty-five years. In 1943, then known as the Theatre de la Cite, the theater served as home for the creation of Jean-Paul Sartre's first play, Les Mouches, and through the 1950s, it hosted productions by Brecht’s Berliner Ensemble, Giorgio Strehler and the Piccolo Teatro di Milano, and the Bejing Opera, among many others.