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Play with a message: Hell is other people

By Zhang Kun (China Daily)

15:00, March 08, 2013

The Chinese production of Jean-Paul Sartre's play No Exit portrays three deceased characters in a locked room. (China Daily)

The new Chinese production of Jean-Paul Sartre's play No Exit is a ghost story rather than a complicated philosophical explication.

Directed by Liu Shuchen, the play will be staged at Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center from March 7 to 24. It marks the opening of a "Post Wave" campaign, when 24 small-theater productions will be staged at SDAC in the coming two years.

Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center chose No Exit as the opening project for "Post Wave" because it is a work of vitality, says Zhao Lian, the play's producer.

"People sometimes say 'hell is other people', but young audiences may not know the context of the quotation, or the real meaning," Zhao says.

In 1998, the center's production of No Exit was well-received and is recalled as a landmark at SDAC.

"We want to create a new reading and hope today's audiences get fresh ideas from it," Zhao says.

The French philosopher Sartre wrote the play in 1944, and it tells of three deceased characters together in a locked room.

Joseph Garcin is an army deserter, who blatantly cheats on his wife. Ines Serrano is a lesbian postal clerk, who turns a woman against her husband, and causes his death. Estelle Rigault is a blonde "gold digger" who marries an old man for the money, while having an affair with a younger man.

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