Iranian troupe blends “SpongeBob”, “Rhinoceros” for Tehran performance 

July 4, 2020 - 18:3

TEHRAN – Bachehaye Shahkar, a Tehran-based troupe for children’s performances, plans to perform a play based on the American animated comedy TV series “SpongeBob SquarePants” and Eugène Ionesco’s “Rhinoceros”.

The play “The Rhinoceros SpongeBob” will be staged by director and writer Sami Salehi-Sabet at the Tehran Independent Theater from July 12 to 17.

The play tells the story of a group of youth and young adults that team up to perform a play in the city. Their play is a combination of “SpongeBob SquarePants” and Eugène Ionesco’s “Rhinoceros”: in the underwater life, all friends and relatives of SpongeBob choose to turn into rhinoceroses for unclear reasons. SpongeBob can do nothing to change their minds, while they begin mocking him. They also taunt SpongeBob about why he doesn’t want to change into a rhinoceros.

In Ionesco’s “Rhinoceros”, the inhabitants of a small, provincial French town turn into rhinoceroses. Ultimately, the only human who does not succumb to this mass metamorphosis is the central character, Bérenger, a flustered everyman figure who is initially criticized in the play for his drinking, tardiness and slovenly lifestyle, and then, later, for his increasing paranoia and obsession with the rhinoceroses. 

The play is often read as a response and criticism to the sudden upsurge of Fascism and Nazism during the events preceding World War II, and explores the themes of conformity, culture, fascism, responsibility, logic, mass movements, mob mentality, philosophy and morality.

Alireza Khodabakhsh, Mana Mokri, Sarina Bonyani and Mehrdad Amani are some members of the cast.

Photo: A poster for “The Rhinoceros SpongeBob”.


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