King’s Rochester’s new Drama studio recently saw its inaugural performance of existentialist French play, Huis Clos, in front of friends, family and members of the wider community.
The technical installation of the brand new studio has only recently been completed and the space now boasts a full, state-of-the-art sound and lighting system, video projection and staging. The technical specification of the installation is at a level found in West End theatres and will greatly enhance the teaching of drama at all levels at King’s. Pupils from a very young age will have access to this high tech equipment which provides a wonderful opportunity to get involved in the technical production side of theatre and drama. Budding performers will experience performing in an atmosphere usually only found in professional theatres. King’s is delighted to be the first school in the South East to provide this opportunity to our pupils.
Our Lower Sixth AS students took advantage of the unique space to stage their version of Huis Clos (No Exit), and made sound and lighting a significant feature of the production shortly before half term. The original title is the French equivalent of the legal term in camera, referring to a private discussion behind closed doors.
The play is a depiction of the afterlife in which three deceased characters are punished by being locked into a room together for eternity. It is the source of Sartre's especially famous and often misinterpreted quotation "L'enfer, c'est les autres" or "Hell is other people", a reference to Sartre's ideas about the Look and the perpetual ontological struggle of being caused to see oneself as an object in the world of another consciousness.
In our version: three damned souls; Joseph Garcin (Fred Hawes), Inès Serrano, (Katie Warwood) and Estelle Rigault, (Annie Kirton) wake up in the same room in Hell and find themselves locked inside. They had all expected torture devices to punish them for eternity, but instead find a plain room furnished only with three sofas. At first, 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; Inès, however, is the only one to demand that they all stop lying to themselves and confess to their moral crimes. She refuses to believe that they have all ended up in the room by accident and soon realizes that they have been placed together to make each other miserable; she deduces that they are to be one another's torturers.
The use of sound and lighting added to tense atmosphere as the young actors delivered a gripping and flawless performance.