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Play explores an alternative hell

Special to The Battalion

Published: Thursday, November 8, 2012

Updated: Thursday, November 8, 2012 23:11

NO exit

Students rehears a scene in the existentialist play by Jean-Paul Sartre, No Exit.

no exit

All photos by Roger Zhang

The hellish habits of others become the tools of torture when three people are doomed to be roommates in hell. Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit is an existentialist’s window into human relationships and perceptions of hell, requiring the audience to think about themselves in relation to others.

The Texas A&M Department of Performance Studies’ Theater Program has been performing Sartre’s No Exit in a two week, eight show run with the last two performances being Nov. 9 and 10.

With a cast of only four characters, No Exit gives the audience a chance to become attached to each character on an individual level. Characters include the manipulative Inez, the remorseless Estelle, the cowardly Vincent, and a quirky bellboy, all of whom interact with each other to create an entertaining play.

The play centers around three people being sent to hell. Upon arrival they are surprised to find out that instead of fire and brimstone, hell is simply a room in which the three are damned to be tortured by petty annoyances brought on by those around them for eternity. The three souls will not immediately admit the reason for their hellish fate, thus compelling the audience to predict the sins on their own.

“The audience can take away from this show is an experience where you have to question yourself,” said junior theatre arts major Liz Livingston who plays Estelle.

In the play, it is not only the actors who are performing, but also the set.

“There are some very interesting design aspects with the show, so many elements of the costumes and the lights and the set are, in a sense, performing with the actors,” Livingston said.

Autum Casey, director of No Exit, said this play is easily relatable to all audience members.

“Each character has moments that we can all relate too,” Casey said. “Even though they are really awful people they do things that are very human, and relate to each other in very human ways.”

Justin Fullerton, a senior international studies major who plays the bellboy, said the first six shows have gone smoothly with responsive audiences and laughter all around, making the cast eager to perform again.

“I think that the play is strong, and what we’ve put together is really good,” Fullerton said. “It’s been a great week and I look forward to another.”

Casey said the dress code for the show is loose but there are some guidelines, jeans and a t-shirt is fine. She said how one dresses at the theater shows respect for those around you; athletic shorts are for the gym.

The final performances will be held in Rudder Forum at eight p.m. on Nov. 9 and 10.

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