Three souls dammed to hell without escape — intense drama will unfold on stage as the University of Toledo Department of Theatre and Film perform Jean-Paul Sartre’s play “No Exit.”
In the play, the characters Garcin, Inez and Estelle are taken to hell by a Valet and placed in the same room where they are mutually trapped to spend eternity.
During this span of time, the characters choose to deny accountability for the actions that might’ve landed them in hell, but through this process they eventually coax the details out of each other.
“No Exit” is known for Sartre’s existential message “hell is other people,” a message that evolves throughout the play.
“The play centers around the belief that ‘hell’ is subject to the people you hate most in the world,” wrote Davion Brown in an email interview.
Brown, a fourth-year double-majoring in theatre and communication, plays Garcin, a journalist and the first character to arrive in the room. He says he and his character share a few similarities.
“I share his tenacity to try and get things done,” Brown wrote.
Second to arrive is Inez, a postal clerk. She is played by Olivia Pierce, a third-year theatre major.
“She is the most confrontational out of all of the characters right off the bat and I think she provokes it out of the other characters,” Pierce said. “Inez doesn’t like a lot of social construct and things that are considered socially acceptable, she doesn’t like false pretenses, and I can say I relate to that.”
The last person to arrive in hell is Estelle, played Christina Pinciotti, a third-year theatre major.
“She is a wealthy, well-off woman with a complicated past,” Pinciotti said. “She is more stuck up and I am not, so not the most relatable character I have played here [UT] at least.”
The Valet, played by Reshi Phillips, a second-year theatre and film double-major, brings the characters to the room in hell. The Valet answers any questions they have and leaves.
“The director describes him/her as being a goofball, so that is similar (to me),” Phillips said. “We’re both kind of ridiculous.”
Theatre major Andrés Medina directed the play. Medina has played roles in several UT productions including “Twelfth Night,” “Miss Julie,” and “Metamorphoses.”
“I can definitively say that Dre the actor is substantially different than Dre the director, which is a grand thing because that shows his versatility in this field,” Brown said.
This play is Medina’s directorial debut, according to a press release from the theatre department.
“I assisted directed two other UT productions, our last musical “Cabaret” and then I assisted directed and stage managed “The Adding Machine,” which went to the Kennedy American Theatre Festival last January in Cleveland,” Medina said.
However, Medina said directing is a different challenge, one that requires much more thinking, planning and vision.
“I hope it [the play] makes people think, think about their lives, think about their own choices and what do we call free will and what purpose they serve,” Medina said.
Like most theatre, Medina said this play deals with deeper questions, and has a subtext associated with existence, the afterlife and philosophy.
“With every play, there is always subtext behind what you are saying, but some plays are a little more upfront with their meaning and with this play it is like philosophy,” Pierce said. “Jean-Paul Sartre was a philosopher: every moment of the play is crammed with this subtext and it is definitely one of the more difficult plays that I’ve done.”
Some of the actors compared the style of the play to Shakespeare’s works because the level of difficulty, but after much hard work, the cast steadily have put the play together.
Tickets prices for the play are $8 for students and children, $10 for seniors, military, UT staff/alumni and $15 for the general public. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit www.utoledo.tix.com.
Located at the Center for Performing Arts, the play will take place Friday, Feb. 19 to Sunday, Feb. 21 and Friday, Feb. 26 to Sunday Feb. 28. Friday and Saturday performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday showings begin at 2 p.m.