Theatre of the Absurd from the Romanian-born playwright with a great name. By selecting Ionesco for university studies I found a fine way to justify engagement with nonsense.
In this capriciously named play, the Absurdist literary movement lends philosophical respectability to dialogue and interaction that is radically Pythonesque.
Ionesco’s plays are deliberately ridiculous because his intention is serious. His creations arise from a distrust of language and the world that it projects. In Tueur Sans Gages, Bérenger’s long speech to dissuade the killer from killing, appealing to idealism and moral codes, is shown to be futile. In the post-war context of Rhinocéros, the central plot that citizens of a small French town turn into rhinoceroses parallels the disbelief that such normal people might become fascists/Nazis.
Ionesco’s search was for the absolute, for a paradise on earth that he once glimpsed as a child and could never forget.
“What I find most abnormal is the normal, the banal,” he said. “All existence seems unbelievable, beginning with my own.”