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The Pearl Theatre Company Presents "No Exit" by Jean Paul Sartre
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The Pearl Theatre Company Presents "No Exit" by Jean Paul Sartre

- Backstage with the Playwrights

Shon 45 Wines & Spirits
(Shon 45 Wines Web Page)
840 8th Ave (50th-51st)
New York, NY 10019

Mon - Thurs 10AM - 11PM
Fri - Sat 10AM - 11:30PM
Sun 12PM - 9PM

The Pearl Theatre Company
Kate Farrington, Interim Artistic Director

No Exit
By Jean Paul Sartre

Adapted from the French by Paul Bowles

Directed by Linda Ames Key

The Pearl Theatre
555 West 42nd Street
NY, NY 10036

Bradford Cover, Jolly Abraham
Pete McElligott, Sameerah Luqmaan-Harris

Scenic Design: Harry Feiner
Costume Design: Devon Painter
Lighting Design: Ann Wrightson
Sound Design: Jane Shaw
Dramaturg: Kate Farrington
Production Stage Manager: April Ann Kline
Fight Director: Rod Kinter
Production Manager/Tech. Director: Gary Levinson
Press: Blake Zidell & Associates

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 7, 2014

In Sartreís 1944 oeuvre, No Exit, each of three characters is predator and prey, collaborating in survival schemes at the early stage of forever in hell. The setting is a whimsical Parisian, hotel lobby, spartan and uncluttered, with each of three sleek divans a bright, engaging color. A floor to ceiling brass sculpture is the only ornament, next to a rope that may or may not ring a bell for help. A smirking Valet, Pete McElligott, leads Cradeau (Bradford Cover), a recently deceased journalist, in a fine business suit, into this space. Outside the boxed walls, as the lighting soon reveals, are stacks of torn beams, bits of furniture, and attic memorabilia, stuffed into every inch of space, perhaps the other side of memory, the debris of life. Inez (Jolly Abraham), a postal worker, is the second character to arrive, and Cradeau and Inez each claim one divan for themselves, leaving the third for the mystery companion. That third occupant of the spartan, boxed space is Estelle, an attractive and more feminine persona than the androgynous Inez. Estelle soon seduces Cradeau in mind and body, with no privacy or discretion, while Inez cracks the invisible whip.

As the minutes pass and revelations are sparked, Cradeau, Inez, and Estelle come to grips with the infinite, endless existence they have just begun. That is, they are all in hell, and hell is never, ever being alone again, and never, ever having autonomy to make private mistakes. In fact, there are no mirrors. Each is the otherís mirror, through the otherís eyes, retold. Each is the voyeur of the otherís clothing, skin, hair, and makeup. The divans are equally sized, so the larger Cradeau cannot sleep or stretch, without discomfort. When chemistry pulls Estelle to Cradeau, then Inez to Estelle, jealousy, anger, fear, and frustration ensue, all around. Yet, when each takes a treacherous walk, beyond the air-tight doors, for one final try at an alternate hell, each returns to the known. The die is cast. This is, and always will be, hell. Linda Ames Key has directed to draw out the innate perception of new-found inner torment, that follows three lives, in which torment was no stranger. Yet, some superior power created this endgame for universal justice. The revelations that hunger, physical deterioration, and death are no longer possible, as the characters are in post-death, unalterable personas, were also drawn out with poignancy and intermittent humor.

Harry Feinerís set is unique and well-conceived, with the exterior debris fascinating, here and there. Devon Painterís costumes revealed the particular life experience of each hell-bound character, and Ann Wrightsonís lighting either hid or illuminated the piled, broken beams and kitchen trash beyond the boxed stage. Rod Kinter coached the trio in some very physical brawls. Kudos to Jean Paul Sartre.

Sameerah Luqmaan-Harris and Jolly Abraham in
Pearl Theatre' Companyís "No Exit", by Sartre
Courtesy of Al Foote III

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at