After the End

Luca Ballók


(An imaginary coda to Eugène Ionesco’s Rhinoceros)

It is Bérenger’s room. There is only a small table with an armchair. On the table Bérenger notices a small bottle. He walks slowly to the table.

BÉRENGER: What could this be? (He lifts the bottle and notices the message on its side.) “Drink this to become a rhinoceros.” (His mind becomes confused as to what he should do)

The lighting fades; only Bérenger is visible as he sinks into his thoughts.

BÉRENGER: What to do? What would be the right decision? Is there a good choice?

BÉRENGER: If I drink this potion I could easily become part of the new society. But I would also be just an average member who belongs to a group, but still doesn’t feel like a member of this community. I would just be an eccentric who wanted to be like the others, because I was afraid of loneliness and being different from others.

BÉRENGER: But could the solution be to remain human? And then I would have to be live forever in fear of when I would change, what would happen to me in this upside-down world. And as we know, fear and loneliness keep the individual in dread. I would become more and more unable to live. I would suffocate in the sea of my thoughts, which I cannot share with others.

BÉRENGER: But still there is my conscience and my life instict, which insists that I cannot leave this world just to fit in with the others and maybe live happily. But all these are just a system of theories woven in my brain.

Bérenger heaves a long sigh and then begins to speak in a firm voice.

BÉRENGER: What is a person’s life for? What can a human do for the world? Is it worth giving up our life which we have been given as a gift?

He holds the bottle in his hand: His hand is shaking violently. Then slowly he puts the bottle back onto the table and starts to speak.

BÉRENGER: The most important thing in life is not what we manage to achieve, in this case whether we can save humanity or invent the antidote, but that we have goals and dreams and persevere with them forever. Let’s fight for life!