Jean-Paul Sartre's Existential Classic No Exit Redefined at A.C.T.
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The last date listed for No Exit was Sunday May 1, 2011 / 2:00pm.
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Master clowns Bill Irwin (Scapin, Waiting for Godot), a two-time Tony winner, and David Shiner (Cirque du Soleil, Seussical) bring their stage hit Old Hats to A.C.T. Their hilarious new work features original music, imaginative movement and a captivating use of technology designed to bring a smile to your face. Shiner and Irwin also co-created the Broadway hit Fool Moon, which ran through most of the '90s and racked up two Tonys, a Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards. A continuation of Fool Moon, the joyful Old Hats won the 2013 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Alternative Theatrical Experience and the 2013 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Revue. Irwin took home his Tonys for his dramatic role in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? along with Fool Moon, but he may be best known as Mr. Noodle from Elmo's World. Shiner not only originated the role of the Cat in the Hat from Broadway's Seussical, but he also wrote and directed Cirque du Soleil: KOOZA. This production features direction from Tina Landau, whose production of Saroyan's The Time of Your Life thrilled audiences in 2004. Learn More
Saturday Matinee, lots of traffic; coming from los altos took me exactly 1 hour, but I drive like a demon. Was going to PARK @ hotel Donatello, read that fee was only $6 - but by 1:30 that lot was full, the one right next to it was $20 flat fee (!!) but I parked there because didn't want any hassle. Take bart if you can, easy walk to ACT theatre.Old Hats travel • Sep 15 2014 star this tip starred
Reviews & Ratings
Featured review from Goldstar Member
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Like many of the reviewers before me, I too experienced mixed emotions while watching and then reflecting upon this production of "No Exit". On one hand, as a Francophile and theatre enthusiast, I can see how this version could offend purists. While visually engaging, the use of video screens do create a sense of detachment with the audience. This aspect also works against the energy of the actors, often feeling sterile, existing in a vacuum. Did it feel like I was watching a movie? Yes, especially when I realized that the last part of the play was pre-taped. That realization took me out of the play at the very moment in which I should have cared the most, as it directly precedes the denouement. The ending also reinforced this "play within a movie" feeling by not truly being in the spirit of the original (imho).
Even with those criticisms, I do feel that the way in which the play was presented makes it very accessible to a non-theatre demographic - even those people who wouldn't intentionally go see French existentialist drama would be entertained by it. In the grand scheme of things, attracting and retaining new audiences is critical to sustained growth of live performance. Thus, I see this production as equal parts artistic vision and business savvy – not necessarily an achievement, but definitely not a waste of my time or money.
Lastly, one must ask oneself, what would Sartre think of this production? Seeing as how reality television has become a way for us, as human beings, to process our own individual and collective existential angst, part of me believes he might endorse the director's interpretation. If the director's goal was to create an aloof and cruel world in which our own worst enemies are ourselves and regrets over our actions and unfulfilled potential, then I think this production ultimately met Sartre's mandate.
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There is one word that comes to mind when I think of this production: offensive. Somehow, they managed to take a brilliant play and great actors and reduce both to gimmicky dribble.
Really, I get the intention behind the projection screens,...continued
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There should be a valid reason for a significant change in the way in which a play is staged. The way in which this production is staged did not contribute in a positive way to an appreciation or understanding of the playwright's themes. By...continued
Quotes & Highlights
“Epic, voyeuristic, theater-as-film staging . . . spectacularly brilliant” —Calgary Herald
“Diabolically inventive . . . a riveting theatrical event” —Georgia Straight (Vancouver)
“A seamless fusion of cinema and theater . . . jaw-dropping” —The Vancouver Sun
“Dazzles with contemporary dimensions . . . freakishly potent” —The Province
“A thrilling masterpiece” —Westender
“Captivating” —National Post
“Brilliant” —The Globe and Mail
“A vibrant, very modern theatrical experience . . . the acting is uniformly powerful and committed, the stagecraft extremely skillful and focused” —The Toronto Star
Fresh from sold-out performances across Canada, Jean-Paul Sartre’s redefined classic makes its U.S. debut at A.C.T. A mysterious valet ushers three people into a shabby hotel room, and they soon discover that hell isn’t fire and brimstone at all—it’s other people arguing about their lives. Sartre’s 1944 existential classic, skillfully reimagined through the perspective of a series of hidden cameras, turns the stage into a cinema, and the audience into voyeurs, as a thrillingly staged “live film” takes place before your eyes. A.C.T. continues its tradition of welcoming the work of innovative international artists to the Bay Area with this riveting multimedia event.