During this past week, I attended the play “No Exit” by Jean-Paul Sartre that was performed by CF’s visual and performing arts students.
The programs stated: “The play is a depiction of the afterlife in which three deceased characters are punished by being locked into a room together for eternity.”
I had high expectations, which slowly shattered before the play even started. The play was held in the Black Box Theatre, a classroom size room that is only accessed from the side of the Performing Arts Center. It took more than 15 minutes to locate the Black Box Theatre because there was no signage at the entrance of the arts center.
The play started 10 minutes late, and once it started it took a while to grasp what was going on. The valet, played by Justin Heath, brought Garcin, played by José C. Rivera, into the theatre that was propped with three couches, a side table, and a center piece. After a few minutes, I realized that they were in a “hotel room” in Hell.
Two women were also put in the room with Garcin: Estelle, played by Athena Moore, and Inez, played by Jessica Mesnick. All three characters had different backgrounds and reasonings for being sent to Hell after they died. They were all confused why they were put together, and they waited for the punishments to start.
Even though the students’ acting skills were at a college student’s level, it was hard to hear them throughout the play. Since the seating was arranged against all four walls, every time the actors turned their back on one side of the room, it was hard to hear what they were saying. There were no mics involved, so their voices couldn’t be heard by the whole audience at all times.
One thing that was a major distraction was the background noise. I understand the reasoning behind the noise, but it was not necessary. It didn’t portray what they wanted the noise to represent. They could have done a better job when designing the background sound.
The wardrobe was well put together except for Estelle’s costume. I feel like there was more time and thought put into the other characters’ costumes then for Estelle’s. She wore a simple blue dress, which would have been alright, but it did not flatter her body at all. You could also see the outline of her undergarment through the dress.
The overall meaning of the play is that “Hell is not a place, it’s other people.” The idea could have been grasped in a shorter play. A lot of things that went on throughout the play could have been cut. It felt like it just kept dragging on with no real reason. The ending did not make any sense – I don’t think it complemented the play at all.
Overall, I’m glad that plays on campus are free to CF students because it was not worth the $12 that was charged to the public. I would give the play two stars out of five for effort.
Story and photo by: Katelyn B. James