“HELL IS other people”. It is one of the most famous quotes by French existentialist philosopher, playwright, and novelist Jean-Paul Sartre and it comes from his play Huis Clos.
Huis Clos (translated as No Way Out, or more commonly, No Exit) will be staged by Galway theatre company ThereisBear!, from the English translation by Frank Hauser, in the Bank of Ireland Theatre, NUI Galway, this thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8.30pm.
Three mismatched characters - a zealous journalist, a priggish socialite, and a post office clerk with a hair-trigger temper - are trapped for eternity in a small, claustrophobic, hotel room. This is Sartre’s famous vision of Hell.
The damned souls expect chambers full of whips, spikes, and racks, but soon discover that Hell is actually filled with the irritating and infuriating quirks of other people, and is far, far worse, leaving the trio to bicker and argue their way through the afterlife as they attempt to find ways to be saved.
A highly infuential work, it inspired Luis Buñuel's The Exterminating Angel, which also explores the concept of people who cannot leave a room; the Twilight Zone episode Five Characters in Search of an Exit; while the 2009 film The Box, starring Cameron Diaz, references Huis Clos in a number of scenes. It also inspired an opera.
No Way Out is directed by Conor Kennedy-Burke with a cast of Peter Shine (Garcin), Kori Kilduff (Estelle), Muireann Ní Raghallaigh (Ines), and Martin Kenny as The Waiter, the impassive personification of Hell’s bureaucracy.
Tickets are €15/€12 and can be purchased through www.thereisbeartheatre.ie or by phoning 086 - 3559912.