NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The third show of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' Fine and Performing Arts Department's theater program continues to emphasize this season's theme of "We the People" with its adaptation of Eugene Ionesco's play, "Rhinoceros," which will open at 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 23, in MCLA's Venable Theater.
Guest artist David Lane, who directs the production, described "Rhinoceros" as an absurdist theater production that includes comedy and tragedy, as well as dark political tones.
"'We the People' is not a given, and democracy doesn't exist without a country of people to stoke the fire," Lane said. "'Rhinoceros' is a dark reminder of our very human fallacies, and of the aspects in our nature which make the possibility of becoming an authoritarianism society a slippery slope."
MCLA's production of "Rhinoceros" treads into the world of psychological horror, playing with the ideas of possession and psychological thrillers, according to Lane. The period is loosely set between World War I and World War II, with inspiration drawn from various expressionist painters of the time, such as Otto Dix, Oskar Kokoschka, and Max Beckman.
The show not only features a deep political take, it also utilizes the student performers' explorations of the psychological foundation of their characters' deep, inner-fascist beliefs within the rhinoceros transformations that Ionesco conjures, Lane said.
Lane is a painter, writer, and theatre artist who lives and works in North Adams. He is a two-time Jim Henson Foundation grant recipient for his original play, "The Chronicles of Rose," which tells the story of Rose Valland, who helped save countless European paintings from being lost forever during WWII.
When he is not in his studio, Lane teaches performance and classes in creative-practice at Siena College in Albany, NY. In 2016, Siena produced his original clown play, "The Painting," which was selected to be presented at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, Region One.
Last year, Lane was a co-creator and the lead designer of "Iinisikimm," an illuminated, night-time puppet performance in celebration of the return of Buffalo to Banff National Park in Canada. This summer, in collaboration with the New England Puppet Intensive and Clark Art Institute, he will direct the 3rd annual Berkshire Lantern Walk, a community festival of light.
Lane studied drama at the University of Calgary with the likes of Clem Martini and improv guru Keith Johnstone, and earned an MFA in theatre from Sarah Lawrence College in New York.
For more information about Lane, go to www.eclipsemill.com/david-lane.
MCLA Theatre program's adaptation of "Rhinoceros" will be shown at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, Feb. 23 and 24 and March 2 and 3, with matinees at 2 p.m. on Sundays Feb. 24 and March 4. A talkback will be hosted after the 8 p.m. show on March 3. Performances will take place in Venable Theater on the MCLA campus.
For more information or to reserve tickets, please call the box office at (413)-662-5123 or visit https://mcla.ticketleap.com.
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