LaGrange College Theater presents ‘No Exit’

Published 9:00 am Friday, February 3, 2023

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LaGrange College Theatre will present French playwright Jean-Paul Sartre’s “No Exit” at 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 9, through Saturday, Feb. 11 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12 in the Black Box at Price Theater.

The 1944 drama, which examines three damned souls trapped in a room for eternity, is based upon Sartre’s experience living through the Nazi occupation of France and his philosophy of existentialism. This will be the college’s third production of the 2022-2023 season.

“Sartre asserted that we are free to make whatever choices we want,” said Tim Fitz-Gerald, assistant professor of theatre arts and director of the show. “However, those choices always come with consequences, and we must be prepared to deal with them.” 

He said this will be the college’s first production in the Black Box since before the COVID pandemic, and it will offer a unique setup for theatregoers.  

“Patrons will be seated on all three sides of the playing area,” Fitz-Gerald said.

“It affects the audience’s perspective, as their experience can change based on where they are seated.” 

Senior Dee Hare, who is playing the role of “Cradeau,” said his character is harboring a great secret.  

“The conflict within himself is intensified by these two very different women who force him to face both his fears and his truth,” he said. 

Junior Carlie Jones, who is playing the role of “Inèz,” said her character has a secret of her own.  

“While Inez is more forthcoming than the other two characters, she still has a lot to hide,” she said. She finds satisfaction in manipulating others. Their pain helps to alleviate her own suffering.”  

Perhaps the most appalling secret belongs to the character of “Estelle” who is played by senior Karson Troth. 

“She’s a woman who uses her feminine charm and sexuality as a way to validate herself,” she said.

“She is looking for that validation through Cradeau.” 

Fitz-Gerald said the power constantly shifts between the three characters.

“One of the challenges of this script is that it calls for three actors to be on stage for an hour with nowhere to hide and no breaks. It requires immense concentration on their part to stay focused on their character’s needs and to continually fight for what they want.” 

Freshman Daniel Miller is the fourth member of the ensemble and will be playing the role of “boy.” This character, who is sometimes referred to as the valet for this cryptic room, helps to introduce the three damned souls, according to Fitz-Gerald. 

“The characters of Cradeau, Inèz and Estelle know only one thing as they enter the space: that they are in Hell. What they do not yet realize is what that means exactly,” he said.

The boy is there to answer any questions they might have. Yet the more information he provides, the more confused the others become. The answers finally come with a terrible realization: Hell is other people.”  

The PG-13 drama is not recommended for children due to mature themes.  

Seating is general admission — no reservations are necessary.

It is recommended for attendees to arrive early. Tickets are $5 at the door. The show is free for LaGrange College faculty, staff and students.