Although I read Ionesco’s acclaimed play when it was first published in English in the early 1960s, I had never seen a theatrical production of the work (and only clips from the 1974 American film), so I jumped at the chance of attending the performance at UCLA’s Royce Hall by the Théâtre de la Ville-Paris in French (with English language subtitles).
is the one in which he transformed into a rhinoceros.
Ionesco had envisioned the transformation happening
behind a curtain, and the actor bursting through with
a rhino mask. But Z could perform the most
astonishing physical feats — whether reducing
Johnny Carson to hysterics by placing a proffered
cigarette on his brow and somehow getting it to
roll all around his face until it fell into his mouth
like a pinball machine, or doing a Dada-like
imitation of a coffee percolator. And he wanted to
make the frightening transformation with