Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Real Art Daily Productions will soon be launching its production of Jean-Paul Sartre’s 1944 existentialist play, No Exit. What can you share about the choice to take on No Exit as the company’s first show of 2018, and what speaks to you about the show, as its director?
Georginna Feyst: In addition to the fact that No Exit is one of my personal favorites, this play was chosen as our company’s first production, because I believe Sartre's message is crucial for us at this time. Our country is drastically divided over ideology. If we all could realize what Estelle, Cradeau, and Inèz come to understand at the end of this play, that our empty rituals, destructive beliefs, and projections upon each other are what's causing the agony of our current situation, and if we could see the ridiculousness of our minds and accept ourselves and each other as we are, we could potentially heal the rift that has seized our nation and experience a more peaceful existence. This project is the kick-off project for Real Art Daily Productions and also serves as an opportunity to honor Jean-Paul Sartre and his most famous theatre work.
BD: How would you describe your approach to visualizing and casting this production, and what makes Real Art Daily’s production stand out?
GF: Producing No Exit has been a vision of mine for over 8 years. This play captured my heart in theatre Conservatory in 2009. The casting and vision for this project has been highly intuitive, and I am thrilled with our cast of superb local talent. I am also very pleased about the director I’ve brought on board, Ye’ela Rosenfeld. Her creative vision for this play is a distinguishing feature in making this production a refreshing change from how No Exit has generally been performed. She has been expert at bringing out the comedy that is in the script, and her vision for the set is stunningly unique. We are also building special events into each performance evening to offer patrons an entire evening of theatre, Sartre, and themes related to the play.
BD: What can you share with us about your creative process in working with the cast and crew, as well as their contributions to the production?
Ye’ela Rosenfeld: When I came on board the play was already fully cast, and I could not be more thrilled with the choices that Georginna has made. I have seen No Exit numerous times before and was never truly excited about it because of its tendency to be overacted and melodramatic at times.
However, when the work with the cast began, we quickly discovered the humor and wit in it, and under this new light the play became both entertaining and profound. Sartre could not have taken himself so seriously, I thought, not when conveying such a depressing message.
No Exit was written during the Second World War and, among other themes, deals with the demise of the age of enlightenment. I, therefore, chose to lock the three characters in a museum of contemporary art, in order to accentuate the ridiculousness of our cultural achievements when put against our monstrosities. The Paintings by Otto Dix are another reminder of that same dark history.
BD: What do you hope that audiences will take away from the performance?
YR: Other than the basic question that the play presents, do we exist away from other people’s perception of us or “Hell is other people,” I find that the most interesting notion the play helps surface is the idea that there is no redemption. So, hell is not just other people, hell doesn’t matter. Our desperate search for meaning, reasons, ideals, and principles is futile, and the only thing left to do is to laugh out loud. This is exactly how the characters end up. This notion is universal and timeless and can always serve as the base for a good discussion… the sooner we make peace with our dark side, the better chance we have to overcome it.
GF: I hope that everyone who attends one of our performances of No Exit learns a little bit (or a lot) about Sartre, art, and their own mind and heart after spending an evening with Cradeau, Inez, and Estelle and the rest of us at Real Art Daily Productions. I hope each person will leave with a little something they didn’t have when they came and that all of the hard work and good intentions that have gone into this production are transferred into recognizable benefits for those who come see our shows, whether it be an increased appreciation for art, a better understanding of self, or new perspectives on life.
BD: Real Art Daily Productions also provides pre- and post-performance opportunities to engage with guest speakers, as well as the cast and crew, in discussions regarding the topics contained within the show. What inspired this audience engagement, and what are you most looking forward to about engaging with audiences?
GF: As producer, I want to give our patrons the richest experience possible. I want the evening to be experiential, educational, and thought-provoking. I want to encourage connections and friendships, new and old, and I want to foster an environment of goodwill. Various lecture topics have been chosen to expand on the themes of the play, the author, and his philosophy, and what was happening during the times No Exit was written, which was post WWII in France. This will give great food for thought and conversation over imbibements and Sartre’s favorite dessert. I am personally looking forward to meeting people who stay after to mix-and-mingle and am also very excited to hear their feedback about the play and how they feel the lecture enhanced their experience.
BD: Are there any additional upcoming projects that you would care to share with our readers?
GF: This production of No Exit is Phase One of a three-phase project that will span 18 months, and we will produce a delightful, new, existentialist surprise for our second run of No Exit in 2019.
Real Art Daily Productions will begin pre-production on our premier film in the Summer 2018. Final Wave Films, my all-female production company, will be writing and co-producing with Real Art Daily Productions, an upcoming feature where a disabled female protagonist finds purpose in her life that was recently saved.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell readers who want to learn more about and purchase tickets for No Exit?
GF: This is going to be a delightful evening of art, theatre, education, friendship, and existentialist storytelling. We have a superb cast of local talent and dedicated crew, strong female leadership and creative vision, and a synergistic team of business and marketing folks. We have designed this evening especially for you. We even have a special surprise at concessions. Please bring your friends and family and enjoy a refreshing new take on No Exit. You’ll never enjoy Hell as much as you will with us! Tickets can be purchased online through Plays 411 at plays411.com/noexit. You can purchase standard tickets for $20 and VIP tickets for $22, which guarantees you a seat in the front two rows.