Rhinoceros, The Chairs, The Lesson, Paperback Book

Rhinoceros, The Chairs, The Lesson Paperback

Part of the Penguin Modern Classics series

4 out of 5 (1 rating)


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.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Plays, playscripts
  • ISBN: 9780141184296



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You can only get so much from simply reading these plays, you need to bring you visualisation skills because they are all presented with a riot of noises, movement, visual symbols, slapstick comedy and action. The famous 'Rhinoceros' can be seen as a wonderfully comical statement about the frightening rise of fanaticism, but the common thread of all three plays is the maddening lack of communication between people. Berenger cannot communicate with his friend Jean (Rhinoceros), the old couple talk in a kind of stream of consciousness nonsense to each other (the Chairs), and the Professor and his pupil's relationship doesn't go all that well, to say the least, in 'the Lesson'. Ionesco is much more fun than Beckett, but Iike Beckett, these works enquire deeply into what it means to be human. Even if you never get to see a good production, you must at least read these and imagine!

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