Thinking In Abstractions

Abstract masterpieces by Eugene Ionesco.

"Ionescapade" is a compilation of two plays written by Eugene Ionesco that reflect avant-garde literary styles of the 1940s. "The Rhinoceros" and "The Bald Soprano" are performed as part of "Ionescapade", produced by the students of St Xaviers College in an attempt to revive the Theatre of the Absurd.

The above genre thrives on abstract content and meaningless sentences to construct an established scenario. After the Second World War, writers like Eugene Ionesco and Samuel Beckett wrote plays that showcased the deterioration of society through the breakup/disintegration of language and meaning.

Contrary to the expectations of the playwright, "The Rhinoceros" was misinterpreted as a comedy during its debut in the 1940's, when it was in fact a dark satire. The role of physical humor and verbal satire is an integral part of the latter and the play is extremely interpretative.

"The Bald Soprano" begins with a banal discussion of the English meal and then proceeds to establish meaning, not by what is said but by the method in which it is stated. Ionesco believed that the pitch and tone of verbal content always carried the true meaning the conversation.

Unfortunately, the interpretation of the play by the actors and its literal performance is disappointing and undernourished. The director's infantile approach has failed to establish a true connection to the Absurd and the play's hidden purpose remains a mystery.

This article was first published on 15 Nov 2000.