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This collection brings together the four plays that feature Ionesco's everyman protagonist Jean Berenger. In 'The Killer', he comes across a radiant city , an ideal civilization which is being terrorized by a killer, whom he tries to help apprehend. In 'Rhinoceros', he is the only person in a provincial town who is not affected by a condition that turns its victims into the eponymous horned beast. In 'Exit the King', he is the powerful King Berenger the First, who refuses to accept that he is dying. And in 'A Stroll in the Air' he acquires the capacity of flight and sees another world lying beyond the clouds. While each play in the Berenger cycle is unique, they are all prime examples of Ionesco's conception of the theatre of the absurd, and touch on themes that preoccupied the author throughout his career, such as mortality, alienation, freedom and the evils of Fascism. This volume constitutes a perfect introduction to one of the twentieth century's most original and influential playwrights.
These three great plays by one of the founding fathers of the theatre of the absurd, are alive and kicking with tragedy and humour, bleakness and farce. In Rhinoceros we are shown the innate brutality of people as everyone, except for Berenger, turn into clumsy, unthinking rhinoceroses. The Chairs depicts the futile struggle of two old people to convey the meaning of life to the rest of humanity, while The Lesson is a chilling, but anarchically funny drama of verbal domination. In these three 'antiplays' dream, nonsense and fantasy combine to create an unsettling, bizarre view of society.
In a house on an island a very old couple pass their time with private games and half-remembered stories. With brilliant eccentricity, Ionesco's 'tragic farce' combines a comic portrait of human folly with a magical experiment in theatrical possibilities.
First produced in 1963 starring Alec Guinness and successfully revived to great acclaim on Broadway in 2009, this absurdist exploration of ego and mortality is set in the crumbling throne-room of the palace in an unnamed country where King Berenger the First has only the duration of the play to live.-3 women, 3 men
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