Raven Rep continues with House of Yes and No Exit

House of Yes blew my mind. Anthony awkwardly seduces his brother’s fianc. If that wasn’t enough, downstairs Anthony’s brother, Marty, seduces his twin sister. It gets better: the twins’ role-play includes reenacting the Kennedy assassination.

Raven Rep continues with two more student directed plays, The House of Yes and No Exit. Similar to the first Raven Rep, the first play had elements of dark comedy and the latter left the audience with a bleak outlook on the human condition. They made us laugh before we broke down to despair.

House of Yes is a dark version of Gilmore Girls. Characters that are deceitful, incestuous, and frightening employ the rapid exchange of dialogue. It takes place in the early 80s within an amoral family unit. A playwright’s note explains the family as “living by the rules they’ve invented.”

The lead women, Jackie-O and Lesly (Reinhardt and Anderson, respectively) are foils of one another. The former is insane and self involved, whereas the latter is innocent and lives by society’s rules.

No Exit, by Jean-Paul Sarte, is the most terrifying depiction of Hell that I’ve ever seen. The characters come onto stage fearing physical torture only to realize that “Hell is just other people.”

Among “customers who serve themselves” is Cradeau, a man obsessed with being a hero but utterly bereft of actual heroism. Next is Inez, who can only exist by inflicting suffering on others (she was by far the most effective torturer). The third cellmate is Estelle, a faux-aristocrat obsessed with status and what she can possess, even when “absent” from the living world.

Both plays demanded high crests and low troughs of emotion from their characters. The most noteworthy performances were by Reinhardt, who was high energy throughout, and Anderson’s ability to alternate between timidity and bellicosity. The entire cast of No Exit was able to tap into extremes in emotion, necessitated by their place in Hell.

Stage design and lighting was minimalist for both plays. Subtle light effects were made to frame Jackie-O’s insanity or display the prisoners’ longing. Unfortunately, sound seemed out of place in House of Yes, but was fitting in No Exit.

Upcoming events from the Department of Theatre include Kander and Ebb’s Chicago. This will be the second production on the mainstage this semester and will run from Nov. 19 – 22. Call the box office at (936) 294-1339 for tickets or more information.

House of Yes by Wendy MacLeod STARRING: Sarah Catherine Reinhardt (Jackie-O), Joe Shepherd (Marty), James R. Smith (Anthony), Katie Stefaniak (Mrs. Pascal), and Adrian Coco Anderson (Lesly).

No Exit by Jean-Paul Sarte STARRING: Kent Coppock (Boy), Jack Ivy (Cradeau), Chelsea McCurdey (Inez), and Angela Bell (Estelle).

Leave a Reply