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UW Theatre and Dance Presents ‘Rhinoceros’ Nov. 6-11

October 30, 2018
woman and man sitting at a table
University of Wyoming actors Bailey Patterson and Will Reed rehearse a scene for the UW Department of Theatre and Dance’s production of “Rhinoceros.” The production will be staged Nov. 6-11 in the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts Thrust Theatre. (Donald P. Turner Photo)

“Rhinoceros,” the landmark 20th century play that explores the consequences of extreme social conformity and self-delusion, is the next production from the University of Wyoming Department of Theatre and Dance.

“Rhinoceros” will run Tuesday, Nov. 6, through Saturday, Nov. 10, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 11, at 2 p.m. in the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts Thrust Theatre. UW Assistant Professor Patrick Konesko directs the production.

Tickets cost $14 for the public, $11 for senior citizens and $7 for students. Tickets are available at the Performing Arts box office and the Wyoming Union information desk, by calling (307) 766-6666 or going online at All tickets cost $5 for opening night, Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Originally written by Romanian-French playwright Eugéne Ionesco, “Rhinoceros” reflects Ionesco’s experience with totalitarian tendencies during World War II. His father was complicit when he was forced to flee Romania as more of his acquaintances began to adhere to the notoriously violent, fascist “Iron Guard.”

“In ‘Rhinoceros,’ Ionesco explored his context and tried to come to terms with how otherwise ‘good’ people can find themselves joining violent and/or hateful movements,” Konesko says. “I think there is a valuable lesson to be learned from what he experienced.”

The performance follows Berenger, who is unimpressed when a rhinoceros charges through the streets of his town, wrecking everything in its path. Concern grows among everyone in the town, except for Berenger, as more and more rhinos come through the town.

Eventually, it is clear that each rhinoceros was once a citizen, who conformed to the brute force and simplicity of being a rhino. With this realization, Berenger decides to fight the transformation and keep his humanity.

“One of the things that drew me to this piece is its increased relevance in our current age of violently divisive politics and misinformation,” Konesko says. “It discusses important issues in a unique way; it makes a point, but does so with intelligence and humor.”

Konesko, a member of the Laramie theater company, Relative Theatrics, has presented research at the Mid-America Theatre Conference, the American Society for Theatre Research, the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, and the Mid-Atlantic Popular and American Culture Association.

For more information, call Kathy Kirkaldie, UW Fine Arts coordinator, at (307) 766-2160 or email

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