If you’re free this evening, I recommend you head over to the A/V Room of Dartmouth High School at 7PM. The kids have put together an excellent production of Jean-Paul Sartre’s rarely-performed existentialist masterpiece, The Flies. It’s $8 ($5 for students) and well worth it.
When I was in high school, a few people I know got together and staged a version of Jean-Paul Sartre’s often-performed existentialist masterpiece, No Exit. I went to check it out on opening night.
The burden of twentieth-century despair must have weighed heavily on our young actors. At one point, someone uttered a line, and someone else responded with another line, only it was the wrong line, it was a line from much later in the play, and so the first actor responded to that line, and so on. And the desperation mounted with the realization that there was no going back.
You’ve all heard of foreshadowing. Now I’d like to introduce you to another theatrical device–“foreshortening.”
You could say that their omission only heightened the sense of fracture and existential anxiety in the play. Although I suspect most of the audience was oblivious to this small disaster.
A local theatre airhead gave this performance a rough ride in her column in the daily newspaper. Not because they’d left out a quarter of the play, but because she’d once seen a version of No Exit in which the characters had gradually disrobed over the course of the action until they were fully naked, and what were those high school kids thinking, trying to do a version of Sartre’s existentialist masterpiece in which they didn’t wind up taking off all their clothes?
Yeah, I liked Sartre. Nausea ruined my life when I was fifteen. Oh the despair.
Hell is other people, yeah.