Arresting drama of three antithetic individuals who discover that "Hell is Other People" will be staged with a classical music prologue.

April 5 to 20, 2019
The Theater at 244, 244 West 54th Street, 10th Floor
Presented by Fusion Theatre, www.fusiontheatrenyc.com, 646-589-2426
Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:00 PM. (No Sunday shows.)
Tickets: $40 in advance, $35 at the door. Buy tickets: https://tinyurl.com/y2kcnmhh and www.fusiontheatrenyc.com. Info: 646-589-2426.
Running time: 90 min. without intermission
Critics are invited on or after April 5.
Photos for download: https://photos.app.goo.gl/ad8pXL4m43Mo9YSM8

NEW YORK, March 18 -- Fusion Theatre (www.fusiontheatrenyc.com) will mount an opera-charged version of Jean-Paul Sartre's "No Exit," directed by Eilin O'Dea, Artistic Director, from April 5 to 25 as the opening production of a new Off-off Broadway venue, The Theater at 244, located at 244 West 54th Street, 10th floor.

The translation by Lewis Galantière has been adapted by director Eilin O'Dea for a cast of classically trained actors who are also accomplished opera singers. To set the scene, the piece will begin with three arias from classical operas that are representative of the transition as between life and death (and the instant in between). Sartre's play was originally written to be set in a Second Empire drawing room. In this production, the setting will be a room with tile-red walls whose central furnishing is a black Steinway grand piano.

In "No Exit" A man and two women, all recently dead, find themselves enclosed in a drawing room where they confront the terrifying certainty that for eternity, they will exist together in antagonistic, nerve-strung agony. Their vortex of wants, needs and manipulations, throbbing with ironic humor and cruelty, make this landmark of modern French drama a work of supreme dramatic power. Its appeal seems to rest on its being both a thinking person's play and a good night in the theater. Simultaneously a riveting psycho-drama and a diverting comedy of manners, "No Exit" turns the theater into courtroom and grandstand, the stage into witness stand and boxing ring, and the audience into judge and jury as the trial of the damned threesome degenerates into an existential brawl.

The play will be performed by Brian Heuer as Garcin, the cowardly journalist, Maria Swisher as Estelle, the shallow socialite and Eilin O'Dea as Inez, the rancorous lesbian. The actor playing the Attendant is TBA as of this writing.

Eilin O'Dea founded Fusion Theatre in 2016 to fulfill her concept that synthesizing the worlds of theater and opera can provide the ultimate theatrical experience. O' Dea describes this as "the culmination and joining of both great art forms." The company launched in January, 2016 with a staged reading of James Joyce's "The Dead" at Theater Row, in which operatic tenor Byron Singleton and soprano Eilin O'Dea sang many of the Irish ballads referred to in Joyce's work. This was followed September 19-25, 2016 with a short proof-of-concept workshop run of this adaptation of Sartre's "No Exit" at Walkerspace Theatre. In 2017, Fusion presented the Lewis Galantière translation of Anouilh's "Antigone" at Theatre Row's Studio Theatre, infusing the play with operatic selections from five classic operas based on the Greek myth. The production was critically applauded for its acting, singing and staging. (See below.) Following this production of "No Exit," Fusion Theatre will conduct an extended residency at The Theater at 244.

Assistant director is Therese Cox. Set and costume design are by Dahlia Barakat. Lighting is by Madeline Kasemichael.

Fusion Theatre will launch an Opera Series March 23 and 30 with "A Night at the Opera," in which  Spinto Soprano Eilin O'Dea (Artistic Director) and Tenor Byron Singleton will perform an evening of extracts (duets and arias) from Verdi's "Aida" and Puccini's "Tosca" and "Madama Butterfly" at Marc A. Scorca Hall of National Opera Center, 330 Seventh Ave., 7th floor. Musical direction is by pianist Maestro Brian Holman. The excerpts presented will be representative of the dramatic and musical journey of each of the chosen operas and the performers, dual-trained as classical actors/opera singers, aim to maintain their absolute commitment to dramatic truth.

"ANTIGONE," 2017
The multi-talented and creative Eilin O’Dea brings the maximum of dramatic tension to the role of Antigone. Byron Singleton combines down-to-earth self-interest with a touching sympathy in his role as First Guard, and with his fine tenor voice he provides a thoroughly enjoyable rendition of Manrico’s aria, 'Deserto Sulla Terra,' from Verdi’s 'Il Trovatore'....The operatic music was  thought-provoking, enriching and a pleasure to hear, and did a good job of advancing the Fusion Theater’s point that there’s value in merging classical theater and opera." -- Yvonne Korshak, Let's Talk Off-Broadway

"Fusion Theatre brings 'Antigone' to life like never before through their unique blend of dialogue and classic opera....The acting, singing, and staging were all exceptionally well done. All in all, this is an 'Antigone' you won't soon forget." -- Erin Kahn, Stage Buddy

"The insertion of operatic arias to this rich interweaving of motivations adds yet another element to Anouilh’s play, and the actors, when they sing, display their fine classical training." -- Roberta Pikser, theaterscene.com

"Eilin O’Dea gives a superb performance as Antigone....In fact, the entire cast is first-rate....this production is excellent, exquisite, a great success – and congratulations to Fusion Theatre!" -- Steve Capra, New York Theatre Critic blog.

"NO EXIT," 2016
The 2016 production of No Exit was a proof-of-concept showcase and was not reviewed. The upcoming production April 5 to 25 at The Theater at 244 will be the production's official opening.

Fusion Theatre will present "No Exit" April 5 to 20, Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:00 PM (no Sunday shows) at The Theater at 244, 244 West 54th Street, 10th floor. Tickets are $40 general admission and can be purchased at https://tinyurl.com/y2kcnmhh and www.fusiontheatrenyc.com. Info: 646-589-2426.

Eilin O'Dea (Inez) is an award-winning Irish actress/singer who trained at the prestigious LIR Academy, Trinity College, Dublin and has performed at most venues throughout her native Ireland. She is also a Spinto Soprano, having trained at the Conservatory of Music, Dublin. She has performed at both concert and operatic platforms, including as guest soprano at St George’s Hall (UK), Mansion House (Dublin), American Irish Historical Society and Symphony Space Broadway. Best known to-date for her groundbreaking interpretations of the works of James Joyce, she has received numerous Culture Ireland awards that have allowed her bring her work here to the United States. Critics roundly cheered her performance as the title character in Fusion's "Antigone" in 2017 (see above). "Her rendition of "Madama Cassandra" (an adaptation of an Edna O’Brien short story) at Symphony Space's Selected Shorts was deemed "staggering" by novelist/theater critic Belinda McKeon. Her performances as Joyce's Molly Bloom have been described as "rich, passionate, compelling" (Irish Theatre Magazine), "O'Dea is every inch the sensualist Joyce imagined" (Irish Times) and "brilliant" (Sunday Business Post).

Brian Heuer (Garcin) was recently seen as Edmund in the Accidental Repertory Theater's production of "The Fool's Lear."  Other roles include The King of Spain in "The Spanish Tragedy" (Hudson Shakespeare Company), Benvolio in "Romeo and Juliet" (Columbia University), and Enobarbus in "Antony and Cleopatra" (Classic Stage Company/Bard City).  He trained at The Acting Studio of New York and RADA (London) and is an Improv enthusiast. 

Maria Swisher (Estelle) is an actor, soprano singer, artist, and co-founder of Dirt [contained] Theatre Company. She studied acting and voice at the Missouri Fine Art Academy and went on to study at NYU and Strasberg Studio for Theatre and Film. In UK, she graduated from the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (First Class, Honors) and trained with the Royal Shakespeare Company and Complicité. Her acting roles include Mrs. Lovett in "Sweeney Todd," Lady in "Orpheus Descending," Miharca in "Garden of Delights," Patsy in "Easy Laughter" (New York Premiere), Elizabeth in "When the Rain Stops Falling" and Freda Caplan in "Dangerous Corner." She voiced Arana in the hit Playstation video game, "Horizon: Zero Dawn." She is also a playwright and director.

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Critics are invited to "No Exit" on or after April 5.
Photos for download: https://photos.app.goo.gl/ad8pXL4m43Mo9YSM8