Sartre’s “No Exit” Read with Lucy Lawless & Jaime Murray

In support of our ep. #87 discussing Sartre, the PEL Players present our 2nd annual dramatic reading of a work of philosophical theater.

Mark Linsenmayer and Wes Alwan are joined by real actresses Lucy Lawless (Xena, Battlestar Galactica, Parks & Recreation, etc.) and Jaime Murray (Defiance, Dexter, Warehouse 13, etc.), who are pals through working together on Spartacus.

Warning: This is a cold read, not a rehearsed production, for educational purposes only (meaning you're not allowed to have fun listening to this, I guess). For sure, you'll get your money's worth for this free product.

PEL Citizens can listen to amusing outtakes from this project.

You can read the version we read of this 1944 French existentialist play online here. You may also want listen to Mark explain Sartre's view of human nature and freedom and read more about the topic.

End song: "No Exit," by Mark Lint, freshly written and recorded for this occasion.

Please support the podcast by becoming a PEL Citizen or making a donation.

Jaime and Lucy


    • Profile photo of Mark Linsenmayer says

      Martin, I’m listening right now streaming, with headphones (or I tested it before going through a cable to my car stereo), streaming through the iphone podcasts app, and I can hear them just fine. If I listen to it streaming through iTunes on my PC, I can also hear them fine. It’s only if I unplug my headphones from my iPhone and try to listen to it streaming through the speaker that their audio turns to absolute gobbletygook. I have no technical explanation for this, but would ask that you simply avoid that listening configuration.

      • Profile photo of Evan Gould says

        I had the same experience. I started listening on the iPhone and couldn’t even hear the girls at all. But through my computer speakers it was completely listenable. Not bad at all. Sometimes there are weird audio bandwidth limitations with certain setups. I used to listen to music years ago with big headphones that had a curly cord instead of a straight cord and I discovered that it was completely filtering out one of the instruments (a saxophone I think). I figured the long curl may have been acting as an inductor and creating a kind of filter that was squashing that part of the audio. I’m sure there are some limitations in that little iPhone speaker as well.

        • Profile photo of Mark Linsenmayer says

          Martin actually helped me figure out the problem, and a new file has now been uploaded. Somehow on the file originally recorded of the remote Skype people, there was phase cancelation going on between the R and L tracks, so that if you listened in a mono situation (like the iPhone speaker, or if your iPhone was configured to play things back in mono), then the two channels would cancel each other out; see “destructive interference:”

          This is not the first time I’ve used a stereo Skype-recorded track of our guests, so I still don’t know why it got messed up in the first place, but it was a simple matter to fix: I copied the right channel on top of the left channel for all but the very end of the file (with the song), so now it’s effectively in mono, and the two stereo channels can’t interfere with each other.

          This would not have happened had I insisted that each participant record herself on her own computer, as we do with virtually all of our guests. It just seemed like it was going to be too complicated to make that happen to be worth it, and I successfully waived that for the recent Bergmann Q&A without adverse consequence.

          • Profile photo of Evan Gould says

            Interesting. So for some reason, the recording process was flipping one of the channels from the Skype source (L or R, which should have been exactly the same) with respect to the other. I wonder if that is a settable feature in the recording software to filter out common mode noise when recording separate L and R tracks? In this case, the whole track was “common mode noise” since L and R both had the same source.

            Just a guess.

  1. Fredbo says

    Really cool of you you all to do this reading! Reminds me of great old-time radio plays… I would definitely encourage the “PEL
    Players” to do this type of thing again! And I must say, Mark and Wed did well up against the two pros. A+

  2. qapla says

    OH WOW ! Lucy Lawless AND Jaime Murray !?!? AWESOME !!!

    Obviously there is so much to the “No Exit’ as there is with Sartre’s other writings.

    As with Nietzsche’s eternal return there is a profound thought experiment about life and death and heaven and hell. In which “heaven” would hell.

    Christopher Hitchens Why does Heaven sound like Hell?
    “Eternal penance. You can never stop — like North Korea. In North Korea, they have compulsory worship from dawn until dusk. That’s all there is, everything is praise. So now I know what it would be like. I know it must be the most proximate place we have on Earth to being in Hell. But at least you can die and get out of North Korea.”

    Hitchens “Heaven: A Celestial North Korea” (short video 02:26)

    A great tremendous thanks to them and much respect for all !!!!

  3. qapla says

    A thought came to mind about not Nietzsche’s infinite loop but Sartre’s infinite stretch.

    A good example of this was in Star Trek with the Q. The one Q was so bored all of the time he made up games and ways to entertain himself.

    In Star Trek Voyager episode “Death Wish” one Q just wanted to die he was so bored having seen and done every thing possible an infinite number of times.

    Star Trek Voyager Deathwish Hearing (video 02:04)

    Deathwish: Self Ownership on Trial (video 03:55)

    “Death Wish” is the 34th episode of Star Trek: Voyager, the 18th episode of the second season.

    much respect

  4. Profile photo of Patricia Saunders says

    Amazing cold read for the ever-dark Sartre No Exit-Shiver.shiver. Mark-let Lucy sing the song and not relegate her to harmony- I love your mind, but voice: uh-uh-Let a pro sing-s otherwise like having Casals do back-up guitar…. Reading caught chilling, bewildered, despair..You guys were good. too! Jaime good, Lucy the best.

  5. Profile photo of Norman Dale says

    Having been truant from the PEL Blog I went and posted some comments about this audio version of the play as an independent thread somewhere else (can I find my way back? Or have I no exit?), but I’ll more briefly repeat here that I love what Mark did with Garcin. I have seen that role overplayed in its callousness whereas Mark’s version seemed to be just right for someone whose political words and private actions were so mismatched. I would add that I loved the song and its performance. No, Bob Dylan need not shrink in envy into the shadows, but it was a good distillation of what Sartre’s play was about. Merci beaucoup!

  6. Taija Solin says

    Wow…. Amazing work Lucy and Jaime! This was truly entertaining. Could listen to all three of you like this all day long. Greetings and respect from Finland ! I approve. I could see pretty much all of it play out.

  7. Matt says

    Many thanks for doing this! Greatly enjoyed the listen. For all Wes’s self-deprecation I thought he did a fine job as the valet, and Mark was awesome as Garcin; Jaime’s Estelle was /uncomfortably/ realistic (I know someone just like that), and Lucy’s Inez totally loathsome (in the good way). Bravo, PEL Players!


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