The Edmond Sun

October 4, 2013

Oklahoma Christian University stages classic play ‘No Exit’


Special to The Sun

EDMOND — Oklahoma Christian University’s first play of the 2013-14 season addresses the serious topics found in Jean Paul Sartre’s classic work “No Exit.” With a focus on taking responsibility for one’s actions, the theater program will stage the play Oct. 5.

“No Exit” features three characters who are locked in a room with no way out. In the room, the lights never go off and all secrets are laid bare. The characters recount their lives and regrets, facing up to the decisions they made.

One of the reasons the production’s director, OC communication professor Phil Reagan, chose the play was because of its relevance to issues of blame in society today.

“It’s good for audience members, and in my opinion, especially Christians, to acknowledge that we cannot blame other people or conditions for our decisions,” Reagan said. “We may have the ability to justify our behavior because of what others did to us or due to our upbringing, but one day we will all be transparent.”

While most describe Sartre’s setting as a look at hell, the play actually takes some of the more popular notions of hell and turns them on their head.

“In this play, there are no notions of an eternal torture by fire, ideas more influenced by Dante’s “Inferno” and repeated today in many church “hell house” plays,” Reagan said. “This play is a philosophical look at how some characters accept responsibility for their decisions, while others do not. It really challenges audience members to look at decisions they are making now and consider how those will affect them in the future.”

Reagan’s direction of the play helps him come full circle in his career. He was an actor in the play as an undergraduate.

OC’s production of “No Exit” uses Paul Bowles’ English adaptation from French. Reagan also made the decision not to use curse words that would distract from the play’s core message. The play is appropriate for ages 16 and up.

“It is a play that a high school junior or older can understand and wrestle with,” Reagan said.

The play stars freshman Julianne Bigham as Estelle, senior Katelyn Jackson as Inez, AJ Leingang as Gaith and Garrett Marshall as Bellboy. Bigham is from Shreveport, La., Jackson is from Jonesboro, Ark., Leingang is from San Diego, Calif., and Marshall is from Louisburg, Kan.

“No Exit” runs at 8 p.m. tonight in Judd Theater on the OC campus. Those interested in tickets can purchase them online at www.oc.edu/noexit or by calling 425-5545.

OC’s next production will be the homecoming musical “Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” which will run Nov. 7-9.