2022 Season‎ > ‎

No Exit

By Jean-Paul Sartre
Directed by Josh Hopton-Stewart

Performances:  1 September to 11 September 2022
“Hell is other people.”
("L'enfer, c'est les autres")

About the Play

First performed in May 1944, it is an exploration of the pain of being forced to see oneself as an object (and objectionable) through the gaze of another. Upon its 1946 American premiere at the Biltmore Theatre, critics described the play as "a phenomenon of the modern theatre” and that "It should be seen whether you like it or not." It is the source of the famous Sartre quote, “Hell is other people” although the phrase “L’enfer, c’est les autres” may also be a reference to the use of the “les autres” as a slang term for the German occupying forces in France during the war.

The Plot

Two women and one man are locked up together in one hideous room in hell for eternity. 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 pretences 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.