The Empire Builders

French scribe Boris Vian’s brutal postwar comedy instantly brings Eugene Ionesco’s Rhinoceros to mind – the same style of absurdist, domestic farce later used by Christopher Durang, but here saturated in political allegory. Perpetually fleeing the roar of an enigmatic heartbeat, a couple and their daughter keep finding refuge upstairs in a series of ever-smaller apartments attached to the same stairwell. Like Ionesco’s villagers, they try to make the best of the growing menace, while blithely pulverizing a bandaged scapegoat figure (‘danger’) who’s present in each abode.

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