December 16, 2012
No Exit Review
What is hell like? It is a question that many people may ask, not knowing what that sort of afterlife might bring. UMD’s Stage II production of Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit gave an interesting interpretation of the idea of hell. The play seemed a bit strange simply because of the subject matter and ideas involved, but it came across in a good way overall. The sound and lighting effects truly brought out the best of the play.
The lighting design, done by Michael Cochrane, seemed to be the most effective and profound element of the play. With various color designs and contrasts, Cochrane really added drama and suspense to the production. During the normal time of “day”, there was a normal room lighting setting. At dramatic character “flashes” and such, the lights would flash and give some strobe effects, or simply dimly lit the characters with dark shades of blue. Various “blackouts” occurred during the play which added a lot of effect and variety to the lighting design.
The lighting also reflected the personality and emotions of the characters in the play. When “The Valet”, played by Pascal Pastrana, had his opening scene, the stage had its normal lighting, but it also had some reds in the background. As The Valet is the demonic character in the play, the reds helped resemble that persona. During characters’ “flashes” of view of life on earth after they died, the stage darkened and showed some dark shades of blue and grey. Those dark colors helped to show the darkened emotions of the characters during those “flashes”.
The sound design, done by Ali McMann, also helped to add suspense to the action onstage. Music and other sounds gave the play a lot of dramatic moments. Eerie music during each separate character’s telling of their story, added to the emotion involved in the telling of that particular story. In addition, unnerving humming and wind noises during the “flashes”, made those moments profound as well. During the beginning parts of the play, where The Valet is “capturing” the characters and bringing them to their room, flashing dark lights were prevalent and effective in adding tension for those scenes.
The on and off lighting at the end of the play, along with the music being played, and the choreography onstage made for a good ending. With these, and other overall sound and lighting effects, the play had life and movement. Congratulations to director Derik Iverson and Stage II for their fantastic job with this Sartre play.
Welcome to hell, now don’t get the wrong idea! There are no chains or whips down here. Just a room with a couple other people and you; this is all you need to worry about. No Exit shows us that that all you really need is time in the right place with the right people to truly suffer.
The actors were few but that was all that was needed to show us a possibility of true torture. Each character was well developed to show why each of them deserved to be in the current situation that they are in. The actors showed us how fickle people can really be when pushed of the edge. Facial expressions were well done, when they wanted to show how scared a character was or angry or to the inevitable “snapped,” they showed it. Their reactions were generic for people who are trying to keep a sane mind until they are pushed to how they really are. The obvious tension between all three was clear from the get-go, each one changing allegiance when it suited them, and picking on one member of the room. Fueling this anger was the information, or depth, on the character that the other would use as leverage against one another. Applause goes out to these actors for representing these characters so powerfully.
The lighting for the production was swift and to the point. The hues of red were shown to remind us that the room was indeed in the inferno. Regular room lighting when the actors would interact with one another in calmer states, switching to a darker tone as views to the other side were given to them. This darker tone helps out to show how bleak the situation the characters were going through is. Nothing really changes until the end when they finally accept the fact that there was no peace to be found. All there was was darkness and then a clear light showing what they were up to in their eternity.
The music is a personal favorite, tunes from what sounds like the 30’s to 50’s. Fitting for the “setting” since in hell time is irrelevant, but the characters all died around the time of WWII, so in that sense “fitting.” The sound effects on the other hand were for the most part, demonic, they made sure it was disturbing to the setting, screams, eerie musical pieces, and banging gave the place a really disturbing vibe, but it was good.
Do you need chains or whips or fire to torture someone for all of eternity? No Exit tells us no, being with the right people in the right place can be torture enough to last forever. They made their point well into the middle of it, and kept on driving the point until they realized it fully as characters. Definitely worth the watch just to see these guys put on great faces to these terrible people.
In a predominately Christian country, various depictions of hell are common. In movies, books, TV shows—even in advertising, hell is everywhere, and each version features its own twist. Jean-Paul Sartre had a particularly unique perspective on hell. Maybe hell is just being stuck in a room with other people for eternity.
Stage II’s production of No Exit achieved about everything one can expect of a show that is essentially a dialogue between three terrible people. Director Derik Iverson must have been doing something right because the level of energy the play maintained despite low levels of action was very impressive.
Right off the bat the show features a creepy puppeteer-like death between the Valet (Pascal Pastra) and Cradeau (Jared Walz). The choreography was very effectively disturbing in combination with the music and flashing lights; the violence of Cradeau’s death was captured. Inzez’ (Caity Shea Violette) death illustrated her spunky, combative personality, while Estelle’s (Carla Weiden) death was much more peaceful – she slipped away from pneumonia.
Each character illustrated a different personality flaw that wound them up in hell. Weiden effectively demonstrated Estelle’s vanity by panicking over the lack of a mirror in hell. Inez is extremely bold and extremely proud. Violette captured this willful character when Inez very forcefully attempted to win over Estelle. Cradeau is initially more difficult to read than either female character; Walz was able to maintain the subtlety of the character while still capturing audience interest.
Musically, two choices were questionable due to their pop culture associations. A small section of “Simon Says” by Pharoahe Monch repeated several times throughout the show. Immediately audience members perked up—shifting and seeming more alert. This might have been because suddenly the characters were more active, but I suspect it was because they recognized this tune. The song was featured in a memorable scene in the film Charlie’s Angels, and it was also featured in the film Boiler Room. Monch stole this sample from Akira Ifukube's “Gojira Tai Mosura,” which has been played and sampled in many other movies and songs. This song is out there, and audience members seemed distracted.
The song “Sail” by AWOLNATION had a similar effect, yet it was more successful due to its placement at the very end of the production. The strange choreographic number paired with the song that merged with the bows was very chilling, and was a very powerful way to end the show. The ending may have been even more powerful without the familiarity of the song detracting from audience engagement.
No Exit was a completely student run production—from lights to stage-managing to directing. The quality of this performance rivaled many high-caliber productions, however. Stage II should be very proud of their achievement with this show. The play is very dense with dialogue and depressing thoughts, but the show delivered the content in as accessible a way as possible.
I went to this play on Thursday last evening without knowing a thing about it. And let me tell you, it was a bit much to take in. The performance was long with no breaks or anything, just two hours of straight acting. But the thing that struck me the most is the director’s perspective of hell. Derik Iverson takes on a very interesting approach to his view of what hell is and what actually comes about of it. Overall, the play was pretty decent. But there was a point where I felt that it was dragging on a bit.
When entering the Dudley theatre, you notice that the person taking the tickets is dressed up and has this weird smile on his face. So I sit down and take my seat, only to notice that when the play begins he is actually one of the actors (Pascal Pastra). He was the valet, and he did a good job playing the part. He was definitely more of a goofy character, while I say the actual performance was more of a drama then anything that actually was supposed to be funny. Though there were some comical parts of the play, I would say that the overall theme was a drama. But at some points, I was a bit confused in what direction the play was going. Cradeau (played by Jared W) was the first person to be in this “hell” (which was just this one room with a few pieces of furniture and empty photo frames). He does a decent job at his part, a few slip-ups, but nothing to ruin the performance for me. Then Luez (Caity Shea Violet) dies and comes into hell. These two have a few arguments and chat a little bit until Estelle (Carla Weiden) comes into the story. That’s when things really start to go off the wall. The three of them ask each other how the they died, and throughout the play you learned that their initial explanation of their death’s were lies. And when one has a slip up in their explanation, the other two gang up on the person and the truth eventually reveals itself. Luez is an obvious lesbian, Cradeau was a bad husband and unfaithful, while Estelle made a guy who loved her kill himself. As soon as Estelle entered the stage Luez was trying to make a sexual advance towards her. As the story develops, there are certain conflicts that slowly drive each other insane. Cradeau and Estelle have sex in front of Luez, while Luez tortures Cradeau for his bad past. You realize soon enough that though they are in hell, the real hell is the presence of each other. At the end of the play they have an epiphany and have the realization that they’re in hell and some weird/cool dance thing happens and that’s the end of the play.
Personally, I thought the play was alright. The kissing scene between Cradeau and Estelle wasn’t that intimate. There was this weird monitor in the back of the stage hanging on a wall that would periodically show character’s flashbacks. That was kind of helpful, but at other times it would show The Valet, which I thought, was a bit strange. The stage was pretty simple; the lighting was pretty simple as well. All the actors had a job well done, though I can’t say there was any stand out performances in this one. I wouldn’t say I wasted my money going to this, but I probably wouldn’t go to it again. This show was kind of a one and done for me.
A Review by Lauren Cain
We have all been told, at some point in our lives, that Hell is a horrible place filled with fire and brimstone, torturers and the River Styx, but what if "Hell is just...other people." In this amazing existentialist tale, we see what appears to be three people who deserve to be in Hell and who deserve each other. Yet we also take a deeper look at what happens to a person to make them so evil? Are they really evil, or have they just done some bad things? The only character that truly seems to understand any of these concepts is Inez portrayed by Caity Shea Violette. When Inez arrives in Hell, she is well aware of where she is and why she is there. Caity Shea does a phenomenal job at letting the audience believe that some evil people, are just that. Evil. Yet, she is tortured by her past and must relive the problems leading to her downfall in this tiny room with a beautiful, spoiled woman, and an insensitive man for all of eternity. Besides the constant laughter, her character was perfectly executed. She had a way of making the audience like her, and even some times root for her, as she was the only one fully aware of the truth.
Another character, Cradeau, played by Jared Walz, was often times hard to read. Once the audience thinks he has revealed his horrible secret, he continues to tell another tale. Yet, one cannot help but wonder if he was truly evil, or merely a coward and a cheat. Walz seems to find the confusion in the character and plays it off very well. He is a man who stuck to his convictions, or at least that is what he would like to believe. He was a man who provided for his wife, who he cheated on anyways. He leads the audience to believe that he has a level head, but soon he begins to crack. The only complaint with this character would be that when Cradeau was looking at his life on earth, he was often times a bit over dramatic. Besides this flaw, he was outstanding. Towards the end of the show, he goes through an enormous moral dillema. Does he allow himself to be seduced by the woman who only wants his body, and anger Inez, or does he stay away from the two of them and hope that they will leave him alone? Walz's best moment in this show was when his character was going through this. He was so confused and angered and horrified that he cracked completely. He was amazing.
One of the most (seemingly) likable characters was Estelle played by Carla Wiedeman. Hands down, best in show. Watching her character development throughout the show is a similar emotion to finding out that Santa is not real. She is sweet, and spoiled, but very cute in the beginning. When the audience realizes what she did, it becomes horrifying. Yet, what is most horrifying is watching her talk about it so nonchalantly after the initial shock. She even at times makes a little joke. With that same cute, sweet demeanor, she recites lines such as, "I do think I am nice to look at. After all, someone did kill themselves over me." She says this with so little emotion that I am astounded. Weideman does a fantastic job portraying this sociopath as cute and harmless, which, in many ways, makes her more frightening. It is obvious that her character so desperately seeks male attention, and in doing so, not only ignores, but actively hurts the emotions of Inez, who shows a great deal of interest in her. Weideman could very easily play it off as being uncomfortable, but instead, she uses her sunny disposition to pursue Cradeau in order to make Inez furious. She says horrible hurtful things in such a sweet tone, one almost does not notice. She was absolutely amazing.
The main criticisms of the show consist of the technological work. While the set was perfect, the lighting and sound effects were often a little off. There were moments where two characters would walk into a corner to speak, yet the light remained center stage. Also, the music which played when each character was revealing their back story was far too loud. There were moments when I could barely hear the actors. For example, when Estelle is watching he sister dance with Ricardo on Earth, she says that she can "...barely hear the music anymore." Yet, the music remained quite loud.
The director, (Derik Iverson) did his job very well, and the character of The Valet (Pascal Pastrana) added some much needed humor to the show, and truly drew you in as he handed each audience member their program in character. This show was outstanding. It was roughly two hours long with no intermission, however, it went by incredibly fast. As you learn more and more about each of these characters, you begin to wonder how the show will end, as they are together for eternity. The light montage at the end will give each audience a glimpse of what life together will become. A truly phenomenal concept performed by an absolutely perfect cast. This show will make you laugh, cringe, and think. To quote the director's notes, "What if Hell was simpler?" What if "Hell is just...other people."
By Ryan Olsen
No Exit, you’ve got a coward, a psychopathic lesbian and a mother that committed infanticide, oh plus a creepy butler. The end goal is to make the audience feel existential about the show, to make the audience wonder about why there in the theatre at that exact moment watching the actors living and existing in a way that tells them something’s missing, it doesn’t all quite add up. Well the cast did a great job of that; the show seemed long and drawn out almost exacerbating by the end. Existentialism is a slippery idea some people understand it while others whittle it down to a single question of, why do we exist? In the play each character seemed to exist to torture the other characters for their sins in life but it also created a system of give and take where the two characters would be taking pleasure from the third characters torture. The small details of the play where brilliant but if you step back and look at the whole picture it wasn’t very interesting to watch three characters sit and talk it out, although with a fight or two to make it interesting. The disconnect that they where in hell was vast, yes an ugly room with people you don’t like could be hell but from a technical stand point the audience can only see an ugly room and hear the cast question that it was hell.
Lighting and sound are the most important part in this kind of play and although the lights and sounds told the audience that a character had died it still left something lacking. The changes in the stage during a moment when a character would see someone on earth felt redundant but three fourths of the way into the play it all was a little redundant.
The ending was a little strange, showing time with a strobe light was nice but the timing on the light was slightly and a couple of times characters seemed to be in the wrong place when the light came on. The final song “sail” by AWOLNATION was very out of place with the old 1930s-1940s music throughout the entire play plus how all the characters were dressed, overall it just felt so out of place to use new music in the time period of the play. The climax was also a little lame when Cradeau played by Jared Walz screamed “Hell is just… other people” it just didn’t feel authentic or real it was maybe a little over acted or just too dramatic, it just felt forced. But besides the technical difficulties and the slow parts it was enjoyable and would be recommended to anyone with an open mind.
No Exit was put on by Stage II, a theatre group at UMD. This play questions the idea of Hell, from a traditional understanding of it being a place of eternal physical torture, and suggesting that Hell could just be a mental torture, caused by confinement with other people.
One really effective part of this production was the lighting and sound design. Throughout the play, both of these aspects were used to set a certain mood and instill a feeling within the audience members. During the death of each of the three characters, the lights shut off. Then there were lots of reds and oranges flashing, at the same time there was intense music playing. These factors caused a sense of fear, and a sort of evil vibes. All of the sudden, the lights went on normal and it seemed like nothing just happened. Other times the lighting was anytime Chadeau, Inez, or Estelle, had a “vision” from their life, or what was happening with people they knew, the lights went red and there was sounds of wind while they described what they were seeing. This made a quality effect that this was actually happening and made it seem very realistic.
There were only four characters in the entire hour and a half play, three of whom, had most of the lines. It was amazing how fluent they were. Apart from a few minor stumbles, the actors knew a ton of lines.
Chadeau, played by Jared Walz, varied in his emotions very well. At different times, he was very calm and trying to reason with Inez. Other times, Walz showed great contrast to that while yelling at the women about different things. He almost seemed to have multiple personalities at times, while he was trying to be intimate with Estelle, and then all of the sudden he would change.
Caity Shea Violette was excellent as Inez. She was able to portray an evil, cruel personality that fit the role well. Violette used facial expressions well, whether it was a look of mock concern for Estelle, or hatred for Cradeau, there was never a doubt about what she meant by her words. You could see it on her face, especially when questioning Estelle and Cradeau about the truth of why they are in Hell. It was actually very creepy, due to the combination of music and lighting, as well as the facial expressions and body movements.
Prissy, and shallow, one of Estelle’s(played by Carla Weideman) tortures in Hell is not having access to a mirror, and having to rely on somebody else’s word that her makeup is on correctly. This pretty much killed her, and Weideman made was convincing at being a somewhat innocent girl. Though we found out what she really did that caused her to go to hell and changes how the audience sees her. The change in all of the characters helped to draw the audience’s attention.
If someone ever has thoughts about what Hell is like, the setting of this play is probably not what would first come to mind. Maybe if one was to study existentialist ideas they would think of this idea of Hell being other people, but the combination of lighting and sound effects, as well as the ability of the actors to properly play their role, made this a convincing idea of what Hell might be like.
December 16, 2012
No Exit Review
There are millions of different interpretations of hell in today’s society. Whether it is portrayed through television shows, movies, ads, or just your next door neighbor, they are all a little different. Derik Iverson at UMD Stage II decided to put his own twist on what hell was like in his production of “No Exit”.
The story has the idea that hell can just involve being placed into a room with the wrong people for all of eternity to forever be tortured. Each character’s personality was a little different, but all of which were hell-worthy. Inzez (Caity Shea Violette) was very bold and competitive. Estelle (Carla Weiden) displayed vanity. An example of her vanity is when she had a fit because of the lack of mirrors in hell. Cradeau (Jared Walz) was a very subtle character, but violent. All of these characters, throughout the play, kept turning on each other and ganged up on one another. These personalities clashed to create a great show. Each actor did a fantastic job at portraying the personality and reactions of their characters. The facial expressions in the show were spot-on. The audience really got into how real the characters seemed. It was very believable.
A key aspect in the show was the lighting, done by Michael Cochrane. The lighting did a great job at making the audience feel every emotion in the play. The lighting would get dark and blue during the “flashes” the characters would have of their lives back on earth. This showed the depression and emotions of the characters. When “The Valet” would come out, the lighting turned to more of a red and eerie feeling. At very dramatic and scenes of intensity, the strobe lights would flash to make the scene even more interesting. There were even a few blackouts throughout the play. The lighting was the best aspect in the show for portraying emotions and feelings.
The other key aspect used in the play was sound, done by Ali McMann. The music selection during the show did a great job at setting the time period. The characters died around the time of WWII, and the music in the play sounded from around that time as well. There were even a few recognizable songs in the show such as “Sail-Awolnation” and “Simon Says”. These songs really caught the audience’s attention. The sound effects used in the show added a lot of intensity also to make the show really come to life.
Overall, “No Exit” was an odd, but interesting portrayal of hell. The acting, lighting, and sounds all added up for an amazing show. The play was never a bore and is a must see this winter!
Going into the performance of No Exit, one has no idea what to experience. Hearing the screams and the lighting effects before the show or seeing a 1940's like living room as a stage, you would think it's a play based partially on events of World War 2. But it's not. It's Derik Iverson's interpretation of Jean Paul Sartre's image of Hell. It host 3 residents, Cradeau, Inez and Estelle.
The first of the 3 residents is the war-hardened, down on his luck reporter, Cradeau, portrayed by Jared Walz. Cradeau has always been somewhat of lowly person, and Hell seemed like just the home for him. Walz did a wonderful job playing the cheating, aggressive man of the group, who realized after the fact, why he belonged in the Hell he was set to. Walz delivered the dilemmas that Cradeau fought with with such reality, that you actually would think he himself had gone mad. His use of expression through his dialect and voice also added another great aspect to the play.
The next resident is Inez, played by Caity Shea Violette. Seeing Violette in the Dudley theatre again, but this time, in a more serious and sadistic role compared to her role in White Baby was definitely a shift of gears. She played the "evil" Inez, who surprisingly did not receive a spot next to the Devil himself. Violette added all the necessary components of an evil character, with the general lack of caring for man, the vile and sadistic way she just watch people live out their lives, even if they were falling apart, and even the treacherous laugh. Violette's character delivered many turning points to the play, and her performance enhanced the importance of these moments.
The final character was Estelle, played by Carla Weideman. Estelle was a girl born with a silver spoon in her mouth and viewed by many as a shinning star, with no flaws whatsoever. She was wondering why she was in Hell. As she began talking with the others and as the others revealed why they had been there, her past had caught up and reminded her why she was there.
Each of the actors delivered a great performance and really portrayed the story of their lives, both past and in Hell, very well. The character choice was prime, and the play was top-notch, with the story and the lesson of the play very deliberately told.
The curiosity of what happens after death will always be an intriguing subject. No Exit, a Stage II play recently performed on the UMD campus, offered a unique opportunity to explore these thoughts and the potential characteristics of Hell. Derik Iverson successfully approached the existential topic through a creative theatrical and artistic perspective.
With only 90 minutes to affect the audience beyond the doors of the theater, Iverson’s script was both appropriate and entertaining. Cradeau wanted someone to believe in him, Inez wanted someone to love, and Estelle wanted someone to give her attention. These three characters spent the entire play exemplifying their greed. Each of their journeys in Hell consisted of an eternal search of something they would never receive. By leaving each character incomplete in one way or another, Iverson extended the existential throughline by planting the idea that being greedy doesn’t necessarily lead to more. In fact, it could lead to less.
An even more thought provoking idea about the afterlife is whether or not the deceased know what is happening back on Earth. As the play progressed, each character was given a first class seat to witnessing their worst fear unfold. Cradeau, Inez, and Estelle all had controlling personalities. By clearly describing their frustration with what was happening in their absent lives through flashbacks, the audience was able to understand the more important meaning of fear in Iverson’s performance of Hell. Fear did not simply disappear when they left Earth. It actually got worse since each character had to watch their worst fear become a reality and bare the inability to control it.
Additionally, each character needed something from one of the other two. Whether it was Cradeau needing confidence from Estelle, Estelle needing attention from Cradeau, or Inez needing love from Estelle, there was constant tension from start to finish. Although many people think that Hell might be a place of physical torture, Iverson used psychological torture to exemplify the character’s uncomfortable experiences throughout the performance.
Without Iverson’s choice of cast, the artistic perspective of the play wouldn’t have been equally as successful. Jared Walz, as Cradeau, was a troubled and insecure man who needed reassurance of his courage. By having a nervous tick and constantly pulling on his long hair, Walz’s anxiety became contagious throughout the audience.
Inez, played by Caity Shea Violette, had a dark soul and found joy in watching others suffer. Her up-tight posture and sarcastic voice gave her the ability to control the stage with dominance.
Carla Weideman, who played Estelle, was a high maintenance social-light that needed attention from herself and everyone around her to be even remotely functional. By using a whiney tone of voice and sexual attributes, her performance was highly believable.
Between the theatrical and artistic perspective, Iverson’s dedication to the play was obvious. Upon arrival, the existence of Hell may have been questioned. At the end, however, questions about individual actions and inevitable consequences arose, furthering Jean Paul Sartre’s ideas of existentialism.
No Exit Review
No Exit was an entertaining performance put on at Dudley Theatre. Jean-Paul Sartre wrote the story that imagines Hell differently than most. "Hell is other people." Derik Iverson, director of this play, took Sartre's story and created a fun production of No Exit. The audience sees Hell as a psychological torture rather than physical.
The premise and time period of this story is one single room in Hell post WWII. In this room three characters are to spend eternity together. Each character is brought to the room by the mysterious Valet (Pascal Pastrana). The Valet oversees the room as if it were a hotel and arranges the furniture to his liking.
Cradeau (Jared Walz) is the first of the three characters sent to Hell. His unfaithfulness to his wife and desertion of the army during WWII causes his fall to Hell. Even with his troubled backstory Cradeau is the most sympathetic character in this play. He wants to know how he can better himself.
Inez (Caity Shea Violette) becomes the second character to join Cradeau in Hell. Inez is borderline insane. Though she seems crazy, Inez easily manipulates the other two. Her manipulation leads Cradeau and Estelle, the third in the room, to change their opinions in different situations throughout the play.
Estelle (Carla Weideman) is the final one sent to spend eternity in the room. Her backstory involves killing her own child she had in an affair. She in some ways is a more manipulative character than Inez. She uses her good looks to mess with Cradeau.
All of the actors in this production did a fantastic job with their characters.
Pastraena's performance as the Valet was excellent. Pastrana had great facial expressions in his performance. He gave the audience a few good laughs as his character worried about the furniture arrangement.
Walz was solid as Cradeau. His performance made Cradeau seem somewhat sympathetic despite his past. Walz was able to keep a look of concern throughout the play as Cradeau searched for a way of redemption.
Violette was over the top. The job she did as Inez was incredible. Violette also used great facial expressions and evil laughter throughout the play. Violette really makes the character of Inez stand out as an insane twisted woman.
Lastly Weideman's performance as Estelle was very good. The character of Estelle needed to seem high class and act like she was above everyone. Weideman really brought that out in Estelle.
Many people worked on different elements of design for this play. All of them did a stellar job. Some of the set design aspects stood out more than others.
Set design was fantastic. The room for the entire play needed to not get too boring to look at. The set had old french furniture for the characters to sit and behind that was a screen. The screen projected images relating to what was happening in the story. This screen helped give the audience something different to look at when the images changed.
Lighting was also a key component to keep the setting from getting dull. The different situations that played out had the necessary lighting. At the end of the production the lighting was franticly changing and was done very well.
Overall this play was great with all of the production and design elements working together. The story kept moving along with some good performances by the cast. Everyone involved should feel proud of this production. An entertaining experience in Hell.
Stage II’s production of No Exit was thrilling and thought provoking. The play itself is a very interesting and unusual take on the afterlife, hell, the consequences of our actions, and fate. This particular production successfully captured the ideals and themes of the play, portraying Hell as a psychological torture rather than a physical one along with treating all the characters as evil yet relatable and realistic.
Although the set was only one room, with very little in it other than the chairs, sofa, music box, fireplace, statue and many frames hung along the wall, it was exactly what was necessary for the show. The bleakness and very normal feel of the attire contrasted the typical views of Hell and caused the audience to second guess their preconceptions of what Hell is. The set also utilized the space and allowed the actors to easily move about as well as enter and exit swiftly.
The costumes were all fitting for the time period and for the characters. Cradeau’s suit revealed how important his work was to him, along with his need to put on the face of a well-respected, polite, business man. The jacket, however, was ill-fitted and distracting. Inez’s dress paints and button up shirt, showed her lack of femininity as well as her relaxed demeanor given her situation. Finally, Estelle’s lacy, turquoise dress spoke of a well to do lady who cares much about her appearance and status, and plays the act of a sweet, innocent girl who does nothing but love others, going about life carefree.
All of the actors did an impeccable job of portraying their characters. They gave each of them depth and motives a long with a dark, well known and though out history that was slowly revealed to us. Each line was delivered as though it was spur of the moment, which, given the mass amount of lines each character had, can be a difficult task. It is easy for actors to come across scripted, rehearsed and obviously memorized, but each actor managed to over come this with realistic emotions and reactions. Cradeau, Inez, and Estelle, played by Jared Walz, Caity Shea Violette, and Carla Weideman respectively, each had a wide range of emotions from indifference, to a dark joy, and torturous pain. They did a great job expressing their characters thoughts, especially when the characters were reminiscing about the past or looking back down upon earth. They also allowed the audience to really see into the characters mind and soul by completely bringing the character to life with their acting choices, through their facial expressions, body language and tone of voice. The Valet, played by Pascal Pastrana, was one of the highlights of the production. He was especially creepy, but also really funny at the same time, which is not easy to pull off. He brought a charming aspect to the play, because he took his job so seriously and he knew about everything that was happening and why it was happening. He also never failed to have a wide, devilish grin plastered on his face, which was quiet impressive.
The best aspect of the entire production was the sound, lighting, and other technology. The different lighting and music that was used to express different emotions, settings or events was very unique and brought the level of the production up about ten notches. It gave it more depth and tied different aspects of the show together as well as aided in the portrayal of Hell. The best lighting and sound scene was the very end. It left the audience in awe and was incredibly well executed. The screen used to show the memories and flashes down to earth was also a unique aspect and was an excellent addition to the show.
Overall, it was a dark, unique production with great actors, use of technology and an intricate message about life and death. While it may not be everyones cup of tea, it was definitely an entertaining production worth seeing.
By Jarad Reiser
Dark, creepy, and goose bumps are what comes to mind after seeing the performance "No Exit", done completely by the UMD Stage II performance art students. Perspectives on what hell is like will forever be changed after seeing this performance. Thoughts of fire and torture are what one would expect, but this play takes an interesting view on what hell could really be like.
One aspect that makes this play so extreme is the lighting and music of the show. Deep colors of red turns the crowds flesh inside out with terrible thoughts of what the fiery gates holds inside. Paired with the creepy music from who knows when! It's this combination that brings up the goose bumps. During the scene when colors switch to a dark-lit blackness while the characters were talking about their terrible acts they committed was equally as intense and creepy. Each character retains such a sincere seriousness, it was very impressive. The last scene of the show was done excellently as well, it really captured the audience and brought all the prior scenes into prospective. The dancing paired with the music left the crowd to think about everything that had took place, and the pure misery that these characters were facing . The actors had a way of making the audience really feel the tension that was going on between the three misfits. Everything from the merciless facial expressions of Inex (Caity Viollete) to the bold body movements and bi-polar personality of Chadeau (Jared Walz). Not to mention the happily creepy "valet" guy that would come out during the dark red lighting! The strobe lights were a crowd favorite during the flashbacks. Having a scene about each characters past was a very important aspect of developing the play.
Overall this play is very moving. The emotions the crowd was feeling was all thanks to the excellent acting and lighting of this shows. Don't forget about the creepy music! Certainly not for the light hearted. It was very impressive to see the students put on such a well done show. Looking forward to seeing more shows from UMD Stage II!
No Exit review by Jon Fundine
When we think of hell what comes to mind? Is there a true existence after death? Or do we live a hell even before death? These are questions that UMD’s Stage II production of Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit attempted to answer.
Even before the play begin the audience was treated to the scene design of Sam Minneart. A simple one room design with a fireplace with a picture frame above that, as we found out would come to life as the play progressed. There were numerous picture-less picture frames covering the walls. We would again discover the reason that there were no pictures or glass in the frames. As the audience waited for the play to begin we were treated to eerie sounds of screams and bangs that previewed the sound design of Ali McMann and what was about to come. There was an eerie green background lighting effect by lighting designer Michael Cochrane that begin to set the tone of things to come.
The valet (Pascal Pastrana) came out on stage and was surprised to find that the furniture was not in the correct place. He proceeded to arrange the furniture with small, detailed position adjusts until it was situated exactly how he wanted it. Was he the devil or simply a servant sent on his behalf? His smiling facial expressions throughout the play created a comic flair to an otherwise dark play. One by one the remaining three actors were to come on stage. The lights would go down. The valet would then come out with a flashlight and search for someone in the audience until he found the unfortunate soul that would become his nest victim. The first was Cradean (Jared Walz). The valet putting Cradean into a series of flailing body parts, spins and turns and then wheeling Cradean off stage on a dolly only to return through the door out of hell. Next was Inez (Caity Shea Violette). Again the valet putting her through flailing body parts and spins. Then carrying her off stage and back through the door. Finally, Estelle (Carla Weideman) was put through the same gyrations and brought onto stage.
It was a play filled with conflict and deceit. It was obvious from the beginning that each character was in conflict with themselves as well as with the other characters. Each would have flash backs to the living world. Have visions of the ones they left behind and who these people were now involved with. This is were the picture frame above the fireplace came to life with scenes of past loved ones in the living world. As the play went on relationships were about to develop between the characters. These relationships would be used by each character to ridicule the others and create conflict among the characters. They would use deceit to achieve their own needs and desires. Each trying to sort out why they had ended up in hell. Each trying to use the others to find a way out of hell.
Each character was portrayed powerfully by each cast member with their facial expressions, body language and voice inflections. A play with simple scenic design, simple costume design, sound and lighting that brought about the atmosphere of the play. A play that attempted to answer a very simple yet complicated question. Is hell where some go after death, or is hell the people we associate with in the living world?
Hell, a place regarded in various religions as a spiritual realm of evil and suffering. Hell is mostly thought of endless misery with various torture devices. The play, “No Exit” dove deep and explored a different version of hell. No fire, whips, chains, or torture device, however, there was no lack of misery. “No Exit” was put on by Stage Two and was performed at the Dudley Experimental Theatre on campus at the University of Minnesota Duluth.
The playwright’s intention for this play was to explore a different version of hell. Another theme of the play was existentialism. This gave the audience new insight into the social issues of today. The play forced the audience to reevaluate their lives and the decisions they make. Three characters truly help the audience realize this. A beautiful affluent woman, an ager filled man, and a smart psychopathic woman. Through the interactions between these characters the audience learns that “Hell is just other
The playscript supported the director’s approach to the material very well. It was an entertaining script that was dark and twisted in a subtle way. It was an appropriate show for college students and older. The concepts would be hard to understand for anyone much younger.
The acting in “No Exit” was exaggerated but that’s exactly how it needed to be. There were times when Inez’s (Caity Shea Violette) laugh would get annoying but it was part of her character. The fake relationship that was formed between Estelle (Carla Weideman) and Cradeau (Jared Walz) was very believable to the audience and at some points got very risky. It was neat to watch the characters bounce back and forth between hell and life on earth. The actors were very good at making the audience believe that they were truly tortured by each other’s presence. The Valet (Pascal Pastrana) did an excellent job of being the creepy hell attendant that he was supposed to. The acting in “No Exit” was strong and definitely no disappointment.
The scene design was simple. There were only a few things hanging on the wall, three chairs that rested on the floor, a fireplace with a TV mounted above, and a jukebox. Because of the simple scene design, the audience was better able to focus on the acting, which in this performance was very necessary. The costumes did a wonderful job portraying the characters background and the life they lived on Earth; the affluent beautiful woman was clad in a glamorous dress, the angry man was dressed in a suit, and the psychotic woman who worked as a secretary in dress pants and a blouse. The costumes were not overdone and did not interfere with the performance. The lighting was simple and supported the style of the production. The lighting was especially effective towards the end, when the characters realized that “hell is just people” and that they will be spending the rest of eternity with each other.
The play, “No Exit,” was well worth attending. It affected me in a personal way and really showed me the effects my decisions have on things.
No Exit was a glimpse into what hell was like. In this vision of hell it is just a room with a couple others along with you. This goes away from the typical Christian view of hell. This just throws you into the idea that hell can be just you with the right people to make your life terrible.
There were not many actors, but just the perfect amount to put on the production. This showed that even few in numbers its good enough to be real torture. Each character had a great story for why they deserved to be in that situation. The were people who had been pushed over the edge one too many times. You could really read their emotions based on the faces they would make. You always knew when an actor was about to snap from the face they were making. I thought that was very well done. They had the typical moments of when you meet a new person holding back your true self until you get to know them. They each had the ability to push each other to the edge.
The music was very good for the hell like feeling. Each character died in the WWII era so the music was from around that time. All other sounds were very dark and disturbing making the setting even more real to the audience. Some of the screams even made the hair on the back of my neck stand up for a second. The overall sound effects were done very well.
Most of the lighting was of a red color keeping the hellish look well in check. The more sane the actors the lighter the color and as they turned to their darker sides the room itself would get darker. In the end they find out there will never be any peace between them just turmoil. The darkness kept that well in check.
No Exit shows us that hell is different from a physical torture but it is more of a mental torture pulling at the strings of sanity. There are those people who can join you that will really push your buttons getting you going. I would highly recommend it to anyone trying to get a different look into what hell could be like. It was a fun show that really showed how sane people can be.
By: Courtney Johnson
A theatre group at UMD called, Stage ll, put on quite an entertaining production called, No Exit. The story was written by Jean-Paul Sartre who imagined Hell in a rather unique way than most would think. Derik Iverson, director of No Exit, decided to take Sartre's story and make it into a production.
What really got the audience into the play was the sound and lighting design. These two aspects were used throughout the play to grab the audiences attention and to set the overall mood of the play. The death of each of the three characters, it went black. However, then there were lots of colors of red and orange flashing, and with that there was intense music, making these scenes dramatic. By having the intense music and the flashing colors of red and orange, this gave off some bad vibes to the audience. Then, like nothing had happened, the lights went back to normal. Whenever Estelle, Chadeau, or Inez had some type of vision from their life, or things that were going on with the people that they knew, there were sounds of wind and lights that turned red. This again was dramatic and intense, making it seem like it was real.
The actors did well throughout the play! Throughout the play three were the main ones characters. They all did well with their lines, a few times there were mistakes made, but it was not too noticeable to the audience. The main actors were Jared Walz (Chadeau), Carla Weideman (Estelle), and Caity Shea Violette (Inez). Chadeau, played by Walz, is the first of the three characters to be sent to Hell by one of the other actors Pascal Pastrana (Valet). Walz knew how to use emotion through his acting. He was one minute yelling at one of the other actors, the next calm. This makes him look as though he has multiple personalities. Estelle, played by Weideman, was great as well. She was viewed as an innocent girl, when in reality the audience finds out what made her really go to Hell. Lastly Inez, played by Caity Shea Violette was the one with the cruel and evil personality. She fit this description well with her expressions. Her face would tell all about what she was thinking. The way she would do her facial expressions and body movements, she came off as a creepy character in this production.
This production overall is worth going to. It can show one how certain things you do now can effect things later on in life. It also was interesting how they were able to do the lighting and make the play interesting! It never got boring!
After attending the stage production No Exit, a Stage II played Saturday the 15th at the University of Minnesota Duluth campus in the Dudley Theatre. Not going to a Stage II production before this one I was a little unsure what to expect. I knew this was put on all by University of Minnesota Duluth students and managed and everything so I was very curious to see how this would turn out. (Not saying our students would fail us at all) Safe to say Derik Iverson did an outstanding job.
Red, red is a color that has a lot of deep meaning. Red is used for a sign of help. The red lights at the beginning portray a lot with the violent noise the audience hears. Red also makes us feel like we are actually in hell. Giving us that uneasy vibe and making us really question. I think with the colors flashing so fast makes it feel even more that this is more of a mental hell we are going through not so much the fact that we are going to be put into physical hell.
Ali McMann did the sound design of No Exit. Music always plays a key role in any production. The music that was picked for the Stage II production was very cool because I recognized some of the songs, which is a lot different when a lot of the other plays I have gone to the music is new and doesn’t really ring bell to my mind. With the songs they picked gave it a very dramatic feeling and made the audience feel a lot of build up and climax.
Not having a lot of characters is kind of a big deal. I was curious to see how this would be portrayed. They all had different personalities and that was a very good addition.
There are always the little kinks that a set has to work out but I was sad to notice that on the last day of the showing the errors were not fixed yet. This makes me nervous to recommend a play done by Stage II incase they still have these little hiccups. Just the little things an audience member would notice. I also felt like the play was a little longer and harder to keep my interest.
- Eric Gahr
UMD's own Stage II theatre put on a thrilling production of No Exit directed by Derik Iverson.
With a simple scene design, the audiences' focus was on the actors. Only a few pieces of furniture, some picture frames, and key items were scattered in a little room the characters called Hell. The scenery was used well and everything seemed to fit with the production.
The lights and the music were the life of the play. Any type of conflict, new development, discovery, or intense scene was covered by a creative display of lights with just as intuitive music to go along with it. When the characters first died, there was music and lighting to display that dark period of time. When they saw flashbacks to their families and friends, the lighting and music reflected another realm and them wanting to be in that realm. Along with other scenes, like fight scenes and such, the music and lighting went hand and hand and was very well done.
Creating a plot out of the ordinary is always difficult, but this play pulled off a plot that was easy to follow and enjoyable at the same time. Slipping away from the stereotypical Hell that we all know, this production brings you to a room. A room filled with the people you can't stand. Throughout the play you begin to realize what Sartre's famous quote from his story means. "Hell is other people" will make perfect sense after this play. This fact alone gives the plot a sense of completion and a job well done by Iverson. Also, it was interesting to see how Iverson would depict the characters seeing their families and friends back on Earth. He did a great job making it an irie, longing and depressing moment for them.
The costumes were designed very well for each character and for the era in which the play took plays. Everything from the "shirt sleeves" to the classic long dress of the sophisticated woman and the typical suit pants of a working woman back in the early 1900's.
Acting wise there were plenty of good things and a few bad things. I feel the hardest part of acting is when it gets intimate. Jared Walz and Carla Weideman do a great job with this aspect. It looked real, not held back, but not over done either. Both actors did extremely well in all their parts. Caity Shea Violette however was, only at some points, a letdown. Though it's not her decision on what to say/do and when, but her laugh was done way too much, way over board, and in some cases totally unnecessary. Other than that, she had a spectacular performance. She is a great actor, and both the ladies really know how to scream.
The play as a whole met its goal. It was scary, funny, something new, and it brought new knowledge to "Hell is other people". I would highly recommend this play.
December 17, 2012
UMD’s Stage II’s student run production of Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit directed by Derik Iverson opened recently at Duluth’s Dudley Theatre.
Iverson’s idea on hell was brought to life and you won’t forget!
The very few actors made up the peculiar performance of No Exit. Not many actors but their roles were each strong enough to carry the audience through the story.
Each actor had their own reasons as to why they were condemned to hell and each of them have a strong personality. The actors did a wonderful job creating believability for the audience. They couldn’t have been more real.
Pascal Pastra played the Valet (which was introduced before the play even began, which was creative and a engaging, but kind of creepy). Jared Walz played Cradeau who was filled with lies and was psycho at times. He did a believable job creating confusion for the audience as to his personality and why he was there in hell. Caity Shea Violette played Inez who was seemed to have an idea of what was going on and didn’t seem to mind it. Violette created a sense of awareness for her condemning, which was believable tot the audience. Carla Weiden played Estelle who is young attractive women who seems to be two faced. With everything she says, she has a nice tone when what she is saying is deceiving. She really made the audience react to what she was saying because she played her character well as a psycho who doesn’t really know it.
The scene design was really displayed well throughout the production and was important in creating certain moods throughout the play. Michael Cochrane was the lighting designer and he did a phenomenal job creating color contrast in suspense, calm situations vs. intense angry situations, and flashbacks. The lighting was a key role reflecting the moods of the characters.
Ali McMann was the sound designer in No Exit. Along with the lighting, the sound created a great sense of mood. The music was important when each character reflected back to their lives and their deaths. The music was sort of creepy and eerie creating uneasiness and disturbing mood. McMann did a great job creating a demonic and disturbing feeling on stage with the sound effects.
Make sure you know what this play is about before attending it can be a bit disturbing. However, if you are looking for a different kind of play, I recommend attending. Just make sure you go into the theatre with an open mind because this play isn’t for everyone.
I attended this play on Thursday the 13th I had no idea what this play was going to be about. It was a very long play and it was hard for me to understand some things throughout the play. We all have heard sometime in our life that hell is a horrible place. This play questioned that it is just someone forcing or restricting ones freedom. We have the ability to choose what we want to do, but the freedom of choice comes from the absolute responsibility for ones action. People than fear their actions, by letting other people make their choices for them.
An important element of this play would have to be the lighting. This play was very dark and creepy, because its perspective was what hell is like. The lighting and music made this play get the feel for the dark and creepiness. The lighting was deep and dark in color. The play used a lot of red lighting as well to place the mood. Every character had a memory from the past and they used strobe lights to use as their memory. The flashbacks or memory’s played a very important role in this play. The lighting really helped tell the mood and their expression
Another important element would have to be the sound. The sound also helped express the feelings and mood of the play. I think that the sound made it really dark and creepy as well. Since the past was an important part of this play, they used wind noises that helped show they were going into a memory or flashback.
The reason why I think that the memories or flashbacks were an important part of this play is because you cannot escape your past and it always stays with you. The dialogue is mostly of the characters past and what they did to ensure his or her place in hell. The play assembles a small group of characters and they are in a single place and they just tear away at each other. This play was very forceful and that is a reason why I think that the memories and flashbacks is an important part for this play.
I think that the characters are the most important elements because without characters it would be hard to understand what the play is about. The characters were portrayed by each other in this play. Each character had a lot of motions and they did a great job of expressing them from their past especially. Each character had a past and was affected by it so they have a lot of emotions and express them to each other by tearing each other up.
Overall I thought that this play was very moving and kept me on my toes but it was very long and I did have a hard time understanding at times. The acting was very good and everyone did a great job of acting. I like going to plays at UMD because I know some of the students and it is cool watching them act. I thought that stage 2 was small and was crowded but other than that it was a good play and I will continue going to plays here at UMD.
If someone is wondering about the characteristics of hell then they should attend the play titled "No Exit." UMD Stage 2 put on the production of No Exit. Originally the play was produced by Jean-Paul Sarte who was an existentialist Frenchman. Basically the background of the play were about three deceased characters and how they had to be locked in a room that basically portrayed hell and come to terms with their life choices.
The play imitated the original play for the most part. The setting of the scene played an extremely huge role in this. I feel the way they set the room on stage and the use of darkness made the play connect to the plot. Also the characters seemed were easy to connect with. A main reason they were easy to connect with was the the art of acting was more modern, which is important in a play like this especially since it was written by an existentialist Frenchman. This is an important part when re-doing original plays of different cultural backgrounds because the producer not only have to keep the plot somewhat in line with the original producers work, but they also have to cater to the culture of their audience and I feel the producer did this extremely well which was portrayed by the authors performances.
I feel the character Joseph Garcin was a catalyst of the play due to his energy. It just seem like it made the energy of the entire play increase every time that character was incorporating in the play.
Overall the play was somewhat successful in its remake of the original play. The play had an extremely large audience which could correlate to the popularity of the play. I would rate the show a 7 out of 10 cause the characters brought energy on the stage, producer catered to the culture of the audience, and while the show kept the original concept of the play while doing these things so i would say its a must see!
The concept behind No Exit is actually quite interesting and profound. However, the execution in the performance was lacking. The weakest part of the show was the excessive amounts of dialogue. The dialogue would have been easier to handle if there had been more action to go along with it. The actors spent too much time just talking by themselves instead of interacting in dialogue with each other. Great concept, just not sure if this was the right type of performance for the message.
No Exit did have some positive things working for it though. The lighting was excellent. The use of the strobes in the final scene was outstanding and gave the performance a much more eerie and evil feeling to it. The reddish lighting that was used beyond the walls of the performance area really helped to convey the feeling of Hell.
The sound effects used in this performance were also really good. They added a little bit of humor to lighten up the mood of the performance and even further illustrated how people can be Hell.
Overall, the show wasn't terrible but it definitely could have been improved with more action and a little less dialogue. The actors did a great job with their performance. The "Hell Valet" was especially good. His performance reminded me of the Saw movie series because of just how creepy he was. His performance saved the show.
Jean Paul Sartre’s play No Exit was produced my UMD’s Stage 2 program in the Dudley Theater. This play was a very interesting play choice because it was an edgy, creepy and somewhat frightful play that left the audience pondering the afterlife, hell in particularly. However, from what the Dudley Theater’s experimental reputation shows, this play choice does not come as a surprise to many.
No Exit takes the standard, highly popular Christianity belief of hell, and adds a very unique spin to it. Christianity commonly views hell as a place of torture. It is a place of eternal unrest, which unending physical torture is endured. Fire, whips, chains and the devil is what hell has to offer. However, Sartre had a very different idea, which he incorporated many of his existentialist ideas. One of the more famous ideas of the play was the idea that, ”hell is other people.”
No Exit began with a brief comic introduction to the valet character, followed by a horrifying mood changing scene where the actors and actresses were pulled from the audience and thrown into their hell room together. As the plot progressed, it was clear to see that each of these three actors had very different personalities that clashed non-stop throughout the play. The character’s realization of them being the psychological torturer for the other two characters brought out a lot of conflict throughout the play.
The realism in the costumes and the scene design help the audiences get into the action of the play. The characters outfits matched their personalities very well. Estelle’s dress and well put together elegant looking outfit gave the audience a clear view of her spoiled personality and Inez’s more masculine outfit and fiery red hair hinted at her violent and antagonizing personality. As for Cradeau, his gentleman outfit matched Cradeau’s character because he was trying to portray himself as a noble, brave gentlemanlike character but underneath he truly wasn’t a gentleman at all.
Scene 2 designed a very technically advanced performance of No Exit. The lighting was full of color and lighting schemes that really brought out the action and the mood of the play. During intense action, the lights would get dim and more focused on the characters and the sound would switch to loud intense songs that brought out the evil in these characters. A flat screen TV was placed on the back wall of the room. They used this TV to add to the emotions of each change in the action. For an example when the characters were talking about their personal live and why they were sent to hell, the TV would show picture of what the characters were talking about, such as pictures of people or houses. The TV also showed the directors intent to always have the Bellman watching them. Every now and again the TV would flash to the Bellman where he would be sitting watching the action as well.
The actors and actresses all played their pars very well. The Bellman performance was outstanding. He did a really good job at portraying a creepy character that really enjoyed watching the other three characters suffer. The other character was very good at expressing their emotion through their acting. The audience could feel the annoyance and suffering that was going on in the room. The tension in the room was very high.
Overall No Exit is a very hit or miss play depending on your personality. If you like to ponder other viewpoints in the world and can handle some very edgy scenes language, and sexuality than this play is right for you. Just remember to keep the kids at home and do not sit in the reserved seats or you too may find yourself trapped in a room with people that you cannot stand and with no exits.
This page contains a single entry by Mark Harvey published on December 16, 2012 3:20 PM.
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