Preview: Do Rhinos Feel Their Horns? by Gangguan!

Rhinoceroses or capybaras? Blackpink or something less cling clangy? Two old friends are making a radio play for the internet. This week’s episode is about the ‘rhinoceritis epidemic’ in the 1980s, where rhinoceroses have inexplicably started taking over the growing metropolis of Singapore.

Do Rhinos Feel Their Horns? (or can they not see them like how we can’t see our noses) is a play rooted in Eugene Ionesco’s absurdist play Rhinoceros which re-asks what conformism means as we live through what is objectively the best time in human history. It is funny, bleak, sometimes joyous, but always full of play. Expect some interesting sounds, performed with a smorgasbord of foley and audio effects.

Following their debut in 2022 with The Change, Rhinos sees Gangguan! bringing together a new creative team, including director Adeeb Fazah of the Second Breakfast Company, actors Shannen Tan, who has trained with Young & Wild and toured internationally to Bangkok, and Melbourne Fringe award-winning Cheryl Ho, as well as Straits Times Life! Theatre Awards-nominated sound artist Vick Low.

Following its Singapore run in May, Rhinos is set to travel to the Edinburgh Fringe where it will run from 15th to 27th August as part of a major venue’s programme (to be announced soon). Say playwright Edward Eng: “Rhinos grew out of an odd disconnect with the original play by Ionesco. While the premise of a town taken over by rhinoceroses was thrilling, the source play warning us of the crisis of conformism was also designed as a parable for the fascist surge in 1930s Romania.”

“It feels like in our everyday lives, there is no longer such contention over ideology. Objectively speaking, we live in what is the safest, healthiest, wealthiest time in human history. Sure, we have the big problems of climate change, super-diseases, and abject poverty, but these increasingly feel like problems beyond the individual.”

Adds director Adeeb Fazah: “Quiet quitting. Lying flat. Basically it’s us feeling a bit crap about ourselves because there is a set path everyone feels obliged to take in Singapore. The tragedy is that like it or not, this path works. I don’t know if there’s a right way out, but making art with friends is surely a consolation.”

On the Edinburgh Fringe run, sound artist Vick Low says, “As emerging artists, I think it is very important that we see beyond our borders and deeper connections with others. We hope to use the Fringe run to support future exchanges and international collaborations. If there is one thing about an idea, it’s that it does not stay in one place.”

Gangguan! is the theatre collaboration between playwright Edward Eng and actors, artists, and designers. Our commitment is to create new theatre for a volatile, ambiguous world. At times it will be violent, and at others, kindly and unashamedly optimistic. Like learning to love a pitbull.

Do Rhinos Feel Their Horns? plays from 4th to 7th May 2023 at Centre 42. Tickets available from Eventbrite

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