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No Exit

No Exit
Your Price: $16.95 CDN
Author: Jean-Paul Sartre
Adapted by: Paul Bowles
Publisher: Samuel French
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 60
Pub. Date: 2010
ISBN-10: 0573613052
ISBN-13: 9780573613050
Cast Size: 2 women, 2 men

About the Play:

Jean-Paul Sartre was the winner of the 1946 Nobel Prize for Literature.

No Exit (English-language version of Huis-Clos) is a full-length drama by Jean-Paul Sartre, adapted from the French by Paul Bowles. A man and two women, each of whom died with the weight of various sins, are put in a waiting room and interrogate each other about why they are there, ultimately realizing that this situation will be their hell, in Jean-Paul Sartre's existentialist play.

No Exit is a darkly comic masterpiece that centers on three strangers – two women and one man – who find themselves thrown together in hell. Damned to spend eternity in one another's company, the characters can only see themselves through one another's eyes. Their curiosity quickly turns cruel. The windows are bricked up; there are no mirrors; the electric lights can never be turned off; and there is no exit. The irony of this hell is that its torture is not of the rack and fire, but of the burning humiliation of each soul as it is stripped of its pretenses by the cruel curiosity of the damned. Here the soul is shorn of secrecy, and even the blackest deeds are mercilessly exposed to the fierce light of hell. It is an eternal torment in which hell emerges as the togetherness of people.

No Exit was first presented in 1946 at the Biltmore Theatre on Broadway in New York City. The play has been performed in regional repertory, high school, college, and community theatre productions.

Cast: 2 women, 2 men

What people say:

"No Exit offers a post-Freudian version of Hell." — New York Times

" not only encapsulates Sartre's existentialist philosophy, but left its indelible mark on Beckett's Waiting for Godot and Harold Pinter's hothouse dramas." — The Guardian (UK)

About the Playwright:

Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) was a French novelist, playwright, and biographer, and he is widely considered one of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century. He is perhaps best remembered as the founder of French existentialism and his books have exerted enormous influence in philosophy, literature, art and politics. During the war he completed the major work Being and Nothingness that eventually established his reputation as an existential philosopher. He was a prolific playwright, producing, among other works Huis-Clos (No Exit). In 1960, he published his second basic philosophical work, Critique of Dialectical Reason. In 1964, his account of his childhood, Words, received worldwide acclaim. That same year he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, which he refused. The Times (UK) described him as "One of the most brilliant and versatile writers as well as one of the most original thinkers of the twentieth century.”

Paul Bowles (1910-1999) was an American expatriate composer, author, and translator who lived 52 years in Tangier, Morocco. He studied music with composer Aaron Copland and established his reputation early as a gifted composer – his music for Tennessee Williams includes the settings for The Glass Menagerie, Summer and Smoke, and Sweet Bird of Youth. In 1945 he returned to writing short stories and by 1947, when he went to live in Tangier, fiction had become his major focus. Though most celebrated for his first novel, The Sheltering Sky, his prolific career included more than a dozen subsequent volumes of fiction; he has written nonfiction and poetry also. He is a folklorist of consequence and a translator of such authors as Jean Paul Sartre, for whose play Huis Clos he coined the title No Exit. The Times (UK) described him as "one of the most unusual, unconventional and gifted men of his time," and The Independent (UK) wrote: "Bowles was a mystic, a man of many abilities ... he will be seen as a major twentieth-century writer."