jean-paul sartre.


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.

4 thoughts on “jean-paul sartre.

  1. Geez, you read that stuff when you were fifteen? Ouch. And wow.

    I only read Marvel comics and the Hitch Hiker’s Guide at that age.

  2. And don’t forget volumes and volumes about terrorizing the high seas! Thought you might be interested in these:

    Shiver me timbers and batten down the hatches, it’s the Blackbeard and Anne Bonny Action Figures. The most famous male and female pirates of all time are now detailed action figures ready to put a little pirate spirit in your life. These pirates are from the days when pirates sailed the sea instead of just illegally copying software and DVDs. Worth every dubloon!

  3. I didn’t read nausea until I was 19 but by then my life had already been ruined by Ayn Rand. I read most of No Exit at a party in grade 12 after the host had locked himself in the bathroom (crying, oh those were exciting times)…

  4. Damn that Sartre to his existentialist hell! He got me too, at 14. Grade Nine. Fucking Nausea, followed by ramming my head for three months against the brick wall of Being and Nothingness while everyone else was making out :(

    As for Ayn Rand—don’t let her anywhere near your sons. She really is a creepy fascist perv.

    I’m into Kant now. Or is that cant? Shove that moral imperative where the sun don’t shine, liebchen.


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