The concept of life after death, and the struggle to understand one’s self, will be examined during the University of Toledo’s production of Jean Paul Sartre’s “No Exit,” to be staged at the UT Center for Performing Arts beginning February 19.
Sartre, a 20th century writer and philosopher whose works are considered to be one of the cornerstones of existentialism, wrote “No Exit” in 1944. Widely considered a classic of drama by many critics and theater scholars, the UT production is being brought to life by young director and undergraduate student Andrés Medina.
“The play begins with three people who are brought to a room by a valet and told they are going to be here for eternity, leading to a comment on the human condition — on why are we here, and how do we make meaning of our lives,” Medina said.
“I Was Honored”
An undergrad directing a mainstage production at the University, Medina, currently a UT senior, noted that it’s been nine years since a student has had the opportunity it came as a tremendous surprise to him when he was offered the chance.
“I expressed interest in the possibility of directing a production in the spring [of 2015] and spoke to some of my advisors,” Medina said. “Initially, I thought it would be performed in the student theatre, but when I discovered I had been awarded the chance to direct as part of the 2015-2016 official season, I was honored.”
Theater has always been an outlet for Medina, a place where he could push his personal boundaries. While attending Toledo Early College High School, he began to audition for plays on the UT stage, garnering his first role in 2011.
“It was an amazing experience made possible for me by the theatre department, as they [cast] people from the community as well as within the department. The faculty and friends I met encouraged me to continue at UT to get my degree,” Medina said.
Coming Together Smoothly
His comfort onstage may be a big reason why his production of “No Exit” is coming together so smoothly. Medina said that the actors have really taken to the show.
“The actors themselves have responded well to the material, comparing the complexity of the script to Shakespeare,” Medina said.
Given the minimal production requirements for the show – the entire play takes place in one room – the stage design is deliberately sparse, to enhance the claustrophobic feel. “The main focus will be on the actors and their actions in this minimal surreal environment,” he added.
For a student ready to strike out into the theater world, Medina has high hopes for what “No Exit” will inspire in his audience. “I hope the audience enjoys themselves, and questions their reality, their own actions and their existence.”
“No Exit” will be performed Friday-Sunday, February 19-21 & 26-28
$15/general admission, $10/students, faculty, seniors and military
UT Center for Performing Arts, 2801 W. Bancroft
419-530-2787 | utoledo.edu