Existential drama

Vagabond puts on production “No Exit”

Pamela Simpson and Zach Closs in action.
Image by: Supplied
Pamela Simpson and Zach Closs in action.

Imagine what would happen if three strangers were trapped in a room together with no windows or doors, and all of them are dead.

On Wednesday night, Queen’s Vagabond theatre company put on a compelling tale of three strangers who meet in the afterlife, forced to spend eternity together in a locked room. What arises in this production — entitled “No Exit” — is an interesting conversation about life, death, human morality and love.

All three strangers, both male and female, coming from different life circumstances, must find ways to relate to one another’s identities and somehow live with one another.

The first stranger to arrive in the room is Zach Closs, ArtSci ’17, who plays the character of deceased pacifist journalist Joseph Garcin. Garcin was shot for fleeing conscription in the war, and struggles with the feeling that he left behind a legacy of cowardice.

He’s later joined by the plucky ex-post office worker, Inez Serrano and the elegant rich housewife, Estelle Rigault. Serrano, portrayed brilliantly by Sarah Reny, ArtSci ’16, is both level-headed, mercenary and takes fondly to mentally torturing the other two characters.

Estelle Rigault, played by Pamela Simpson, ArtSci ’17, appears to be a well-mannered lady of the bourgeois reminiscent of Daisy from Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. But Rigault has the darkest past of all, seeing as how she murdered her baby and cheated on her husband during her time on Earth.

The three characters spend most of the two hours talking about themselves, reflecting on their past lives and why they were sent to this eternal “hell.” The discussion between them prompted the audience to reflect on the faults and feelings that make us all human.

Vagabond’s production is based off of philosopher and playwrite Jean Paul Sartre’s most famous work entitled “No Exit”, and although the play was a more experimental and interactive then the original, it was phenomenally acted and well-presented.

This was a unique experience for audience members, as the production took place in a closed room both in the script and in the actual physical staging. Sitting in the John Orr room on the third floor of the JDUC, about 30 people filled the seats on the edge of the locked room.

Since seating was within close proximity to the stage, it made for an interactive atmosphere. The audience members served as an invisible congregation that could be felt, but not seen by the characters.

This fascinatingly dimensional and introspective theatre piece was well acted, well scripted, and proved to be a unique and refreshing experience for the attendees. The cast, as well as director Jacob Miller, deserve applause for the high performance quality in “No Exit.”

“No Exit” plays in the JDUC from Oct. 16-19 and 22-26.


Play, Review

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