Nu Sass Brings the Second Installment of the Small Batch Audience Series to DC: Sartre’s ‘No Exit’

no exit 200x200For those of you who didn’t witness it, something beautiful happened in the tiny gallery at Caos on F Street last spring. Nu Sass Productions (a theatre company founded on the ideals of creating theatre that allows women the opportunities to occupy nontraditional roles on and off the stage) brought Tony Kushner’s seldom-performed Nazi Germany/Reagan era play, A Bright Room Called Day, to an audience of 20 people in a room smaller in size than a one-bedroom apartment. The premise? To create an atmosphere of immersion where actors and audiences occupy the same space, and play with the evocation of theatricality up close.

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Not a new premise, certainly – immersive theatre is on the rise across the scene – but one that is certainly working for the women of Nu Sass. Last spring, they invited us into the cozy and rapidly crumbling home of Agnes Eggling – a place of love, struggle, secrets, and damnation set in Berlin against the backdrop of the rise of the Nazi Party. This fall, they’re taking us out of traditional time and space to a whole different dimension with Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit.

Director Angie Pirko.

Director Angela Kay Pirko.

Set in a ramshackle Second Empire drawing room somewhere in the passageways of Hell, three strangers are thrust into each other’s lives (or the after-death equivalent thereof) to clear out the ghosts of their past. Resident Director Angela Kay Pirko has crafted this rapid fire 90-minute show (a welcome length, after the weighty 3 hours of last spring’s Kushner) in an uncomfortable atmosphere of building electricity and tension between the inhabitants – and No Exit succeeds in dragging the audience in to Hell with our protagonists (if you can call them that). But don’t expect a Haunted House version of The Pit. There will be no glaring red lights, no wailing moans of the damned, and no pointy horns. Sartre knew what he was doing when he created an every man’s room for this show, and Nu Sass does a fantastic job of bringing this Existentialist masterpiece to afterlife.

Prepare to immerse yourselves in a world without end, a world of flickering lights and broken mirrors, a world of lies and bad faith, a world of raw humanity in all its glory and failing. 20 audience members at a time, at least.

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No Exit plays from November 5-22, 2015 at Nu Sass Productions performing at Caos on F Street – 923 F Street, NW, in Washington, DC. For tickets, purchase them online.

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