Dings Digital reviewed our reprised presentation of Jean-Paul Sartre’s wonderful existentialist play, No Exit, on his blog. We feel quite honoured to have Dings‘ review, and hope that you will enjoy it as well. We so enjoyed producing and performing this wonderful play at Ce Soir Arts and look forward to many other plays and presentations at the Ce Soir Arts Théâtre in future.
Three outstanding photographs grace the page at Dings’ blog, Dings Digital’s Diary. One is posted here, depicting our three characters at a stalemate in their discussions. Thank you, Dings! See his blog here: https://dings.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/das-leben-ein-theater-sartre-in-sl/.
We thank fellow actors, B. Hemi and TerryLynn Melody (who is another of the multi-talented artists sharing her music and poetry in SL) as well for their work and artistry, and express our appreciation to those who joined us that evening for this second presentation of the play. The first presentation featured only university students and Mireille – and they did a fabulous job, each earning the accolades of attendees including their professor. Thanks again must go to Draco Luv of Luv Creations for his scripting of the knives we used in the play for both presentations, without which our closing scene would not have been so powerful.
More about the play…
Sartre’s dark, somewhat comedic, play is existentialist theatre at its best. The original title (“Huis Clos“) is the French equivalent of the legal term in camera, a reference to a private discussion held in private behind closed doors. We find it interesting that several English translations have been performed under the titles In Camera, No Way Out and Dead End. One other title caught our attention: Vicious Circle; that seems to fit well, as the three main characters (along with the diffident Valet) seem to run in circles, first vowing silence and alienation in their strange situation and then coming round to conversation and even deeply revealing confessions from their lives on earth – before becoming “absent,” as Estelle deemed to call their uncomfortable state of affairs (being dead). The play was first performed at Théâtre du Vieux-Colombier in Paris in May 1944, and how we adore being in that company!
The play is a depiction of the afterlife in which the three deceased characters are punished by being locked into a room together for eternity. As such, it is the source of one of Sartre’s most famous and most often misinterpreted quotations, l’enfer, c’est les autres (“Hell is other people”), usually taken to refer to people in general. However, in the context of the play, it becomes clear that this rather vehemently stated fact (by Garcin, the central character in the ensemble) means that certain other people can indeed serve as the most effective form of hell for an individual. As intriguing as the interrelationships of Garcin, Inez, and Estelle are in this play, it is clear that they will struggle throughout eternity to manage living together in such hot, dry, isolated conditions – conditions that they have little or no control to change. Indeed, it is only by managing their own volatile emotions and actions can they dare to hope to find any peace at all.
To say that we enjoyed presenting Sartre’s No Exit in the Ce Soir Arts Théâtre is an understatement. Doing so has opened a completely new chapter in the life of Ce Soir. What a joy to work so freely with others who enjoy the genre. How wonderful to feel the encouragement of so many whom we admire. Look for more from Off-the-Shelf Productions at Ce Soir, and do let us hear from you if you have ideas about plays or other presentations. We know that one of our dear friends, Russell Eponym, is exploring Shakespearean soliloquys, and we cannot wait to see him on stage! We shall repeat Tea with Ted & Sylvia and have other presentations “in the works” with our own Off-the-Shelf Productions company.
Come see the théâtre at your leisure and do plan to join us for a producation soon!