'Rhino 2020:' A staged reading of a new play
November 15, 2021
Tuesday, March 15, 2022 at 7 p.m.
Friday, March 18, 2022 at 4 p.m.
Squires Haymarket Theatre
Written and directed by Ali Namayandeh, PhD student in geosciences
Produced by Rachel Nunn, MFA student in theatre
Featuring Volkan Akkale, Sami Al Jadir, Keshav Bhateja, Dean Compton, Luke Dangel, Steven T. Licardi, Misheck Mzumara, Shaghayegh Navabpour, Rachel Nunn, and Julie Truong.
Can a town full of rhinoceros and human citizens coexist, particularly as their town's primary crop output dwindles? This new work explores the intersection of social extremism and environmental degradation, drawing inspiration from Eugene Ionesco’s classic piece of absurdist theatre to look at what is happening to human ethics in the face of our modern climate crisis.
The playwright, Ali Namayandeh, is a PhD student in the Virginia Tech geosciences department and also has an MFA in playwriting from the University of Tehran, Iran. He says about his work:
"My training in science is in environmental geochemistry, but I always wanted to find a way to address the social aspects of my science. The topics I’m working on as a scientist are so specific that sometimes scientists in the same field who are working on slightly different aspects of the same question can’t even communicate. I think it is a very important problem. We should reach a larger group of people to communicate the significance of our research. If we want to solve our huge environmental problems like climate change, we have to educate ourselves and others by bringing all the tools we have to the table. We have to find effective ways to communicate with people outside of science, and I think theater could be a powerful tool for this."
The play is being produced as part of VT's Communicating Science Week, further enhancing the important theme of environmental activism. Read the full interview with Namayandeh and Nunn here.
A diverse team of actors are bringing this story to life, featuring Virginia Tech students, staff, and community members from across academic disciplines and backgrounds. Some team members will be featured in a panel and performance workshop at Virginia Tech's Communicating Science Conference on March 19. Read more here.
"Rhino 2020" is co-produced by The Graduate Arts Council and Art for Environmental Justice, in collaboration with the Center for Communicating Science.