New This Week:
Stray Dog Theatre's New Works Laboratory presents An Evening of One-Act Plays Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., August 31 - September 1. The evening consists the one-act plays "Marge" by Lawrence E. Mooney, "Lights in the Sky" by Courtney Taylor, "Joyland" by Karen Saari, and "Life Ever After" by Alyssa Ward. "With the New Works Laboratory, the audience, performers, and writer all take part in the play development process. The writer creates the script, the actors translate the page to the stage, and audience members exchange immediate and uncensored reaction to the play, providing all with insight into further development of the product. Playwrights with a unique vision, innovative subject matter, and diverse perspectives are thus given a voice which otherwise might never be afforded to them in the contemporary world of performing arts." Performances take place at The Tower Grove Abbey, 2336 Tennessee. For more information, visit straydogtheatre.org or call 314-865-1995.
My take: Stray Dog has done an impressive job of bringing new works by local playwrights to its stage, and the post-show talkbacks give the audience a chance to be in important part of the process. I have performed in a couple of their New Works Laboratory shows over the years and have been impressed by the quality of the scripts.
Photo by Joey Rumpell
Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble presents Jean-Paul Sartre's No Exit Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 pm, through September 1. "SATE celebrates its twelfth year producing theatre in St. Louis with its Season of Entrapment. The 2018 season will explore the definition of entrapment: the state of being caught in or as in a trap. For the third production of its Season of Entrapment, SATE will present No Exit. No Exit, or Huis clos, is Jean-Paul Sartres existentialist play in which three damned souls are brought to the same room in hell by a mysterious Valet. Expecting medieval torture devices to punish them for eternity, they are surprised by the deceptively simple and relatively ugly room. As they are all introduced, none of them will admit the reason for their damnation: Garcin says that he was executed for being a pacifist, while Estelle insists that a mistake has been made. Inez however, demands that they all stop lying to themselves and confess to their crimes. This play is an exploration into the human psyche and the invisible wounds we are capable of inflicting upon others, and ourselves. No Exit is the source of Sartre's famous quotation 'L'enfer, c'est les autres' or 'Hell is other people.'" Performances take place at The Chapel Venue, 6238 Alexander Drive. For more information: slightlyoff.org.
My take: I have never been a great admirer of Sartre's famous script, but there's no doubt that reviews for this production have been very positive. At Ladue News, Mark Bretz says that this is "an intriguing presentation of existentialist writer Jean-Paul Sartre's landmark drama" in which director Bess Moynihan "gets handsome performances from her quartet of players who keep the audience involved in the travails of three wayward souls lost in eternal damnation." "Utilizing the rather intimate performance venue of the Chapel," writes Michelle Kenyon on her Snoop's Theatre Thoughts blog, "SATE’s production is impeccably staged, ideally cast, and fascinating from start to finish."