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News Release

Feb. 11, 2022

Theatre Northwest to present existential tragicomedy “No Exit”

By Edidiong Idong-Bassey, communication assistant

Northwest Missouri State University will showcase the stage version of Paul Bowles’ adaptation of Jean-Paul Sartre’s classic tragicomedy “No Exit,” at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 24-26 and 2 p.m. Feb. 27 in the Studio Theatre at the Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts.

The play is a depiction of the afterlife in which three deceased characters are punished by being locked into a room together for eternity, ultimately learning that “hell is other people.” Described as darkly funny and haunting, the 20th-century avant-garde production has been translated into dozens of languages and studied in thousands of classrooms. 

Northwest Professor of Theatre Dr. Theo Ross is directing the play and hopes it provides the audience with an intellectually stimulating experience.

Existentialism, at its core, is about choice and the significant impact those choices have on individuals and the collective society, Ross says. He wants audience members to consider how choices they make define and impact themselves and others.

Additionally, a panel discussion on existentialism will follow the Feb. 26-27 performances. Funding support for the discussion is provided through a Missouri Arts Council grant and Northwest's College of Arts and Sciences.

“Today, most people are more familiar with the term referencing the impact of those choices as ‘an existential threat,’ rather than an artistic or philosophic movement,” Ross said. “I selected this play over two years ago, and since then our country, indeed the entire world, has been faced with existential threats on multiple fronts – all of them impacted by the choices made by individuals.”

Tickets are $10, by cash or check only, and may be reserved by phone at 660.562.1321, email at or at the box office up to one hour before the show.

The production is the last for Ross, who has announced he is retiring from Northwest this spring after 44 years of teaching at the University. A reception honoring Ross will be in the Ron Houston Center foyer after the Feb. 27 performance and panel discussion.

Theatre Northwest’s 2021-2022 season concludes this spring with “The Imaginary Invalid,” April 13-16.


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215