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Animals and laughs run wild when Blinn-Bryan and Texas A&M stage 'Rhinoceros'

Performances run April 20-22 at the Blinn-Bryan Student Center and April 27-29 on the Texas A&M University campus

Performances run April 20-22 at the Blinn-Bryan Student Center and April 27-29 on the Texas A&M University campus

April 13, 2023

The Blinn-Bryan Theatre Troupe (BBTT) will close out its season of metamorphosis with a true transformation as characters in Eugène Ionesco’s “Rhinoceros” change into beasts before the audience’s eyes.

The absurdist comedy’s production is a joint effort between Blinn and the Texas A&M University Department of Performance Studies, with the cast and crew comprised of students from both schools.

“This play is a work of art that uses humor to address a very serious subject. It also showcases a great combination of our two programs,” said Blinn-Bryan Theatre Professor and co-director Greg Wise. “The production features students in the acting realm and design realm that are combining all these talents. This is a challenging play to produce that would not have been possible without this collaborative partnership.”

Written in 1959, “Rhinoceros” is a post-war comedic drama set in a small provincial town. Over the course of the play’s three acts, wild rhinoceroses gradually overrun the community as inhabitants transform into animals, except for the character of Bérenger, an everyman role who is initially criticized for his laziness and slovenly lifestyle. Interpreted as a response to the sudden emergence of Fascism and Nazism that preceded World War II, the play explores the themes of conformity, morality, and mob mentality.

The Guardian wrote that “Rhinoceros is filled with animal grunts and snorts and panicky human frailty, showing us how it feels to have one’s identity subsumed and traduced.”

“Rhinoceros” is hospitality student Jackson Tucker’s first experience performing at Blinn. As the lead role, Bérenger, Tucker said this character requires more physicality and emotional exaggeration than prior roles he played in high school. Wise even brought in a movement coach to help the actors expand their perspectives.

“I studied the character a lot to get ready. He’s a little bit looney sometimes,” Tucker said. “I think people should come see this play because it’s the funniest, most random thing I’ve ever done in my life. It’s pretty absurd, but still sends a very good message.”

Grace Lunsford, a performance studies major at Texas A&M who plays Daisy, enjoys the collaborative nature of the show and is excited to see the cast and crew’s hard work come together on opening night.

“It’s been really cool to come over to Blinn and meet a lot of new people. I think we have a great group of actors from both schools, which has made our cast more full and complete,” Lunsford said. “I’m really excited to see all the connecting points between the comedic sides and more serious sides and the finished product we ultimately create.”

The cast includes six Blinn and 16 Texas A&M students and features both theatre and non-theatre majors.

Production team members are Grace Harmon, assistant director; Róisín Alexis, stage manager; Ellie Davis, Isabel Rios, and Ashley Wienecke, assistant stage managers; and Hendrix Taylor, tour manager.

“Artistically collaboration is essential, and this experience has been fun since the first moment. The students working together has been amazing and they’ve really melded as a group,” said Anne Quackenbush, co-director and lecturer with Texas A&M’s School of Performance, Visualization, and Fine Arts.

Performances will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, April 20-22, at the Blinn-Bryan Student Center (Building F, map ) and Thursday through Saturday, April 27-29, at the Texas A&M University’s Performance Studies Black Box Theatre ( map ). Tickets for both locations are available at

The show is recommended for ages 10 and up.

The Thursday night performances on April 20 and April 27 will feature a post-show discussion with the cast and crew from Blinn and Texas A&M.

To learn more about the BBTT, contact Wise at

For more information about Blinn’s Theatre Arts Program, visit

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