Huis Clos

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Huis Clos is existentialist French play by Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980)[1].

The original text

The original title Huis Clos is the French equivalent of the legal term in camera, referring to a private discussion behind closed doors. The play presents tree dead people in hell, where they suffer torments created by the fact that they are doomed for ever to live in nerve-strung misery. First performed in 1944 and published by Gallimard, 1947.

Translations and adaptations

Numerous translations of the piece have been done, under varying titles.

For example, English translations have been performed under the titles No Exit, In Camera, No Way Out, Vicious Circle, Behind Closed Doors and Dead End (the latter not to be confused with the 1979 play of the same name by Zakes Mda).

Afrikaans translations include In Camera by Rita Elferink, Agter Geslote Deure by Ernst Eloff, In Kamera by Francois Swart and Geen Uitgang.

Performance history in South Africa

1957: The Vicious Circle was presented by the Regent Players in a double bill with The Respectable Prostitute directed by Cecil Williams at The Library Theatre in Johannesburg.

1961: Presented as In Camera by the University of Cape Town's University Dramatic Society at the Little Theatre in July, directed by John Pikoulis.

1971: PACOFS, In Kamera (in Afrikaans) directed by Ernst Eloff starring Lerina Erasmus and Jannie Gildenhuys.

1972: An Afrikaans adaptation titled Geen Uitgang presented by the Drama Drie, Johannesburg at the ATKV Nasionale Toneelfees ("ATKV Amateur Play Competion") in the Bloemfontein Civic Theatre, November 1972, directed by David Moolman, featuring Cobus Erasmus, David Moolman, Helena du Toit and Suzette van der Westhuizen.

1976: In Camera Afrikaans translation by Rita Elferink, staged by Eksperimentele Teater Stellenbosch in the Libertasteater in March 1976, directed by Marie van Heerden, with Philip du Plessis (Garcin), Margot Luyt (Inès) , Juanita Swanepoel (Estelle) and Leon van Heerden (Kelner).

1978: Agter Geslote Deure was presented by the University of Pretoria as their entry to the S.A. University Drama Festival at the Sharp Festival of the Arts in Grahamstown. Directed by Hetta le Grange and starring Christo Pienaar (Garsin), Mitzi Booysen (Unez), Amanda Strydom (Estelle) and Hetta le Grange (Bediende).

1978: Presented by the Rhodes University Drama Department in English, directed by Jamie Crawford in March-April.

1983: In Camera Afrikaans translation by Rita Elferink, presented by USAT of the University of Stellenbosch at the National Arts Festival Student Drama in July 1983, directed by Ilzebet Uys, assisted by Anton Oosthuizen and stage manager Jon Phillips. The cast: Johan Laten, Altus Shröder, Amor Engelbrecht, Adriënne Oosthuizen.

1990: In Kamera Afrikaans translation by Francois Swart, staged by PACT, with Sandra Prinsloo (Inès), Gys de Villiers (Garcin), Deirdre Wolhuter (Estelle) and André Stolz (Kelner). Designs by Chris van den Berg.

1998: Agter Geslote Deure Afrikaans translation by Ernst Eloff, staged by the Johannesburgse Afrikaanse Teaterorganisasie (Jato) in the Trap der Jeugd Theatre, Cottesloe, directed by Wim Vorster, with Paul Lückhoff, Antoinette Kellerman, Rina Nienaber and Wim Vorster.


Allardyce Nicoll. 1949.World Drama

Tucker, 1997. 111-112.

PACOFS Drama 25 Years, 1963-1988.

ATKV Nasionale Toneelfees programme, 1972.

National Arts Festival programme, 1983.

PACT theatre programme, 1990.

Petru & Carel Trichardt theatre programme collection.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

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