by Eugene Ionesco
translated by Derek Prouse
directed by Daisy Walker
The Julie Harris Stage | September 7 – 28, 2019 | Previews September 5 and 6
In celebration of WHAT’s 35th Anniversary we return to our roots and the play that started it all, Ionesco’s absurdist masterpiece Rhinoceros. Written in 1959 in alarmed reaction to the mid-20th century proliferation of totalitarianism, Ionesco’s play takes aim at the underlying roots and the seductively corrosive lure of herd mentality.
“With outrageous comedy, Ionesco attacks the most serious of subjects: blind conformity and totalitarianism, despair and death.” – The New York Times
“The vigorous production of this classic Theater of the Absurd play, with references past and present, still sounds an alarm.” – Cape Cod Times
“It’s not often that we get Ionesco plays on the Cape, or any plays that have that double-edged reputation of being avant garde. This year’s production is excellent, bringing this brilliant, absurd, hilarious, and insightful play to our attention again.” – Provincetown Magazine
“the high-energy, madcap feel of a French “theatre of the absurd” …. excellent chemistry …. quite a bit of physical comedy, all very well-executed.”
– Cape Cod Today
“WHAT’s Rhinoceros is a triumph. Not only because of its timeliness, but also because of the exquisite quality of this production. It’s achingly good, and will leave audiences thinking…” – ptownie.com
“WHAT’s dark and satirical “Rhinoceros” is as timely today as it was in 1959 and artfully speaks to our politically charged times.” – Cape Cod Chronicle
Justin Bennett (Jean) is excited about his first time working at Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater. He lives in New York City and has been in New York theater productions of Macbeth, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, King Lear, Curse of the Starving Class, Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged). Regional theater includes Legend of Sleepy Hollow (East Lynne Theater Company), Comedy of Errors, West Side Story, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Alexander and the Terrible… (Mill Mountain Theater). National tours include one-man shows with Kid Power Productions and Slim Goodbody. As a freelance director, he studied with Tony winner Rebecca Taichman. New York directing credits include All My Sons,The Adding Machine (Off-Broadway), Boys Next Door, Separate Tables, 45 Seconds from Broadway, It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. B.A., Theater Arts, LaGrange College, summa cum laude
David Fraioli (Berenger) is happy to be back at WHAT for their 35th anniversary season. Previous WHAT credits include Agent #2 in Lenin’s Embalmers, Mickey in Mojo, Ariel in The Pillowman, Leo in The Vibrator Play, Barry in Jihad Jones and the Kalashnikov Babes, Tony in Danny Casolaro Died for You. Los Angeles Theatre: The Homosexuals, Celebration Theatre; The Baby Dance, Lounge Theatre, Endgame, Sacred Fools Theatre New York Theatre: The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, La MaMa, Estelle Parsons, dir.; Trojan Women, En Garde Arts, Tina Landau dir. Television: Dexter, House, Criminal Minds, The Last Ship. MFA University of Washington.
Abigail Solomon (Mrs. Boeuf) appeared in THE ROOMMATE at Shadowland Stages earlier this summer. She has also worked with Manhattan Theatre Club, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, California Shakespeare Festival, Dorset Theatre Festival, Payomet Performing Arts Center, Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse, Abingdon Theatre Company, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Women’s Project, and New Georges. She toured nationally with a one-woman show for eight years. TV and Film includes Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Mercy, Childless, Odd Mom Out, Sex & the City, Law & Order, NYPD Blue and a recurring role on Days of Our Lives. She has her MFA from the NYU Graduate Acting Program. Abigail is also a Drama Desk Award winning and Tony Award nominated producer, and lives with her husband and two children in NYC. She dedicates these shows to Daniel Walker, her drama teacher and mentor. Thank you, Daisy Walker, who first directed her in high school. @AbigailRoseSolomon, www.AbigailRoseSolomon.com.
Christopher “Chiz” Chisholm (Cafe Proprietor, Botard) is honored to return to the WHAT for our 35th Anniversary Season after appearing as “F” in Cock and Senator Higgins in Alabama Story here in our 2016 Season. His credits include the New York stage, Hollywood soundstages, Network Television and Regional and Repertory Theatres across the country and around the globe. Theatre: Harry Dangle One Man, Two Guvnors, Tevye Fiddler on the Roof, Big Daddy Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Psuedolus A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Nick Bottom A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Guildenstern in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, Dogberry Much Ado About Nothing, Tony Lumpkin She Stoops to Conquer, Ira Drew It’s Only a Play, Marquis de Sade in Marat/Sade and Chad Williams in the world premiere of Walking on the Moon. Film: Wraith, Fever Pitch, Corrina, Corrina, Welcome Stranger, All Lies End in Murder, Stop & Go, The Seventh Octave and Girth of a Nation. Television: Strange Universe, Dress Gray, Ned and Stacey, Beverly Hills 90210, Matlock and Unsolved Mysteries.
Gillian “Gigi” Watson (Daisy) is thrilled to be joining WHAT for the second time this summer after appearing in Lenin’s Embalmers last month. As a Boston resident and new Eastham homeowner, she is extremely grateful to Chris, Michael, Katie, and the entire WHAT team for welcoming her with such warmth. Recent Boston theatre credits include Small Mouth Sounds, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime (SpeakEasy Stage), Brawler (Boston Playwrights Theatre), Hamlet, The Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth (Brown Box Theatre Project), Billy Elliot (Wheelock Family Theatre), Finish Line (Boston Theater Company), and Café Variations (ArtsEmerson/SITI Company). Gigi is a proud member of AEA and an Emerson College BFA Musical Theatre alum. When not onstage, she works joyfully as an acting and interview coach with My College Audition. You can catch her playing the titular role in Hamlet at Gloucester Stage this October. Love to Flip.
Kelsey Torstviet (Grocer’s Wife, Logician, Fireman) is honored to be returning to the Julie Harris Stage for this celebratory season at WHAT! Selected credits include: …Where you Eat (Wild Project, NYC), LARVAE (The Alchemical), Blithe Spirit (Capital Repertory Theatre), The Turn of the Screw (WHAT), Theory of Mind (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Capital Repertory Theatre), I Am A Camera (WHAT), and A Hatful of Rain (Teatr Studio, Warsaw). BFA: NYU. She is a member of the Acting Faculty at The Lee Strasberg Institute in New York City. A huge thank you to Chris, Daisy, Brad, Michael, and the Intern Company for their exuberant and tireless work. And to Mom, Dad, and Joe for their love and support.
Phillip Hays (Grocer, Dudard) is an actor and director based in Houston, Texas, gratefully making his WHAT debut. Recent Houston credits include: Pride and Prejudice, Much Ado About Nothing, Stage Kiss, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (4th Wall); The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Gravity Players); The Barber of Seville, The Triumph of Love (Classical Theatre Company); Cophenhagen, Love Goes to Press, Life Is a Dream, Dog Act, The Coast of Utopia (Main Street Theater); The Whale; or, Moby-Dick (Horse Head Theatre Co.); A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Pericles, Twelfth Night, Cymbeline (Houston Shakespeare Festival). With Prague Shakespeare Company: Julius Caesar, Cymbeline, Macbeth, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Henry V, Richard III, As You Like It, King Lear. Previously on Cape Cod, he directed Cape Rep’s production of Mr. Burns: a post-electric play. Other directing credits include productions with Classical Theatre Company, Main Street Theater, Horse Head Theatre Co. and Prague Shakespeare Company.www.philiphays.com
Dick Morrill (Old Gentleman, Mr. Papillon) is a founding member of the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, WHAT (1985). He played the part of Berenger in the theater’s opening production of “Rhinoceros,” followed by roles in “The Lady’s Not for Burning,” “The Foreigner,” “Black Comedy,” and “Actor’s Nightmare.” For the past 15 years, Dick has been performing in the summer-long productions at WHAT for Kids. He has performed in Key West, NYC, Connecticut, and on Cape Cod. Dick is thrilled to be part of this important play with this incredible cast, and ever grateful to Leslie for her love and support.
Eugène Ionesco was a Romanian-born French dramatist whose one-act “antiplay” La Cantatrice chauve (1949; The Bald Soprano) inspired a revolution in dramatic techniques and helped inaugurate the Theatre of the Absurd. Elected to the Académie Française in 1970, Ionesco remains among the most important dramatists of the 20th century. (Britannica)
Daisy Walker (Director) WHAT: Painting Churches, Oblomov, The Little Dog Laughed, Ride, Hazard County, One Night in the Life of Denise Ivanovich, Private Eyes, Stonewall Jackson’s House. Daisy is Executive Artist Director of Theater Masters —an 18 year old company devoted to playwrights at different stages of their career. She has directed around the country from San Diego to NYC, at theatres such as The Guthrie Theater Lab, La Jolla Playhouse, Keen Company, Classic Stage Company, Berkshire Theatre Group, New Georges, Payomet PAC, Adirondack Theatre Festival, and others. She has directed new work by artists such as Kristoffer Diaz, Julia Jordan, Duncan Sheik, Eric Lane, Kevin Rice, Courtney Baron, and Melanie Marnich. Previously, she was an Assistant Director on Jersey Boys on the Broadway, National Tour, and Regional productions, and served as an Artistic Associate at Classic Stage Company. Other Broadway Assistant Directing credits include Aaron Sorkin’s The Farnsworth Invention, Dracula: The Musical, and Sinatra, His Music, His World, His Way at Radio City Music Hall. A Usual Suspect at New York Theatre Workshop. Affiliated Artist New Georges. 2005 Recipient of SSDC Sir John Gielgud Fellowship. MFA from UCSD.
Did you know WHAT’s 1985 production of Rhinoceros was shut down? Read about it in The Provincetown Independent:
A Tale of Two ‘Rhinoceros’es
WHAT celebrates 35 years with the play that started it all
BY Jacob Greenberg
Jeannette de Beauvoir talks to Christopher Ostrom, Daisy Walker (director, Rhinoceros) and Brad Dalton (director, Orson’s Shadow) on WOMR’s Arts Week
(They come in at 15:30)