Existential DramaGAMBIER, Ohio (October 24, 2005) Kenyon will host a production of Jean-Paul Sartre's existentialist play Huis clos next week, as the well-known Claude Beauclair Company returns to campus. The performance, in French, will take place on Friday, November 4, at 8:00 p.m. in the Hill Theater. Admission is free.
In the one-act play, three characters are trapped together in the afterlife. They gradually confess their moral failures, with each realizing that all of eternity will be spent under the merciless gaze of the two others. Huis clos (in English, No Exit) is considered "one of the great plays of the twentieth century," says Professor of French Mortimer Guiney, adding that it is a "brilliant illustration of Sartre's philosophy that people are defined solely by their actions."
The production honors the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Sartre, the French thinker whose philosophy, novels, and plays had an enormous impact on intellectual life after World War II. Huis clos was first produced in 1944. Sartre died in 1980.
French actor Claude Beauclair founded the troupe that bears his name in 1970, in order to give foreign audiences greater familiarity with the classics of French drama as well as contemporary French plays. The company has toured throughout the world and regularly appears at colleges across the United States. The troupe last appeared at Kenyon in 1999.
The performance is sponsored by the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures and its Edward Harvey Memorial Fund, with the assistance of the Department of Dance and Drama.