Thursday, July 7, 2011

No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre, Chaotic Theatre, July 1 - 17

ALT reviewNo Exit Chaotic Theatre Company Austin Texas

by Brian Paul Scipione

Death without End

Inès slips behind Estelle and coos comfortingly in her ear, gives her promises of faith, sisterhood and protection, and then suddenly she pinches her and shoves her away. . . Estelle cozies up to Garcin and whispers of an endless devotion in the only place that, endless, really has any meaning, then she turns away, haughtily dismissing him. . . Garcin shrugs aside his social predators and affirms his own solitude and determination, only to fall prostrate moments later before the prey turned predator. . . and so the eternal chess match of Sartre’s No Exit has begun.

Chaotic Theatre’s production at the Blue Theatre makes no bones about the fact that most audience members know they are walking into a glimpse of damnation. They even quote the play’s most memorable line on the back of the program, “Hell is other people.”

The set is perfect: an unmistakeable dead end. A white abyss, where imagination would be an intruder. The sound design is that of a punchy, eerie, nearly silent abyss. The set pieces are befitting of an eternal way station, because who really is comfortable waiting? But it is the pacing of this production that really seals the deal. When there is a pause, it is convincingly thoughtful for all involved. When there is a sudden burst of dialogue, it is somehow both spontaneous and expected.

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