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Lone Brick Theatre’s “Rhinoceros” Aims Its Horns at Gender Intolerance; Opens April 22

Actor Tyler Palma

Student Tyler Palma poses with a rhinoceros to promote the latest play by the Lone Brick Theatre Company named after the animal.

Widener University’s Lone Brick Theatre Company presents Eugene Ionesco’s absurdist play “Rhinoceros” on Friday, April 22; Sunday, April 24; and Tuesday, April 26 at 8 p.m. in Lathem Hall. A pop-up outdoor performance is also planned for Sunday, April 24 (weather permitting) at 1 p.m. Updates on the pop-up performance will be posted on Facebook, and audience members can meet outside Alumni Auditorium starting at 12:30 p.m. for directions to the performance. 

Lone Brick updates “Rhinoceros’s” classic examination of conformity through an interpretation that explores contemporary gender issues, and the persistent intolerance of alternate gender expression. Simultaneously, this production questions what happens when all unique expressions of gender become reduced to gender neutrality, and instead of celebrating differences in the search for mainstream acceptance, become simply-and dangerously-part of the conformist “norm.”

Taking aesthetic inspiration from pop culture pioneers of alternate gender expression such as David Bowie, Andy Warhol and Boy George, “Rhinoceros” visually emphasizes the individuality and identity of its characters. Coupled with singing and dancing, Ionesco’s absurdist narrative translates into a sleek, modern examination of gender that the cast immediately embraced.

Kirk Reichart, who plays the stylish straight man, Jean, said, “As for singing . . . [David Bowie] was a favorite of mine since I was a child, and I only hope I channel him for the upcoming shows. ‘Rhinoceros’ is a very absurd show, but there is a strange charm to it. It's going to be a wild ride."

Admission is $5 for all audience members and includes free market fare from the set, which doubles as a marketplace. Audience members can pick up food prior to curtain and enjoy it during the show at table seating.

Lone Brick Theatre is Widener University’s resident theatre company dedicated to producing non-traditional theatre through innovative scripts, staging, directing and performance. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/lonebricktheatreco.

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener comprises eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university’s campuses in Chester, Exton and Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del., are proud to be tobacco-free. Visit the university website, www.widener.edu.