American Players Theatre
5950 Golf Course Road
P.O. Box 819
Spring Green, WI 53588
Box Office: 608-588-2361
A fading king teeters on the brink of apocalypse, flanked by two queens and a few dotty subjects. And together they somehow manage to convince us that, of all the events in life, death may be the most ridiculous. It’s absurd, of course. Yet absurdism is the ever-entertaining gateway drug to existential introspection. Sure, jousting with the unknown can be a little unsettling, but the brilliance of this play lies in how beautifully it flips the narrative on those fears. The result is a deeply moving and savagely funny story. Where everyone dies at the end.
Closes September 27
Featuring Tracy Michelle Arnold, Sarah Day, Casey Hoekstra, John Pribyl, James Ridge, Cassia Thompson
An absurdist masterpiece in the Touchstone Theatre. A fading ruler at the helm of a world in decline, King Berenger is having some trouble accepting his fate. His first wife, Marguerite, is intent on forcing him to face his mortality, while his second wife, Marie, wants to shield him from the bad news. All the while an eccentric mix of servants weigh in from the sidelines, with varying degrees of helpfulness. A very funny and deeply moving look at the end of it all.
The day after I was given the assignment to direct Exit the King,
I mentioned the task to one of my students. He said, “Oh yeah! It’s about
all the things you always talk about — death and mortality and stuff.”
(Pause.) I admit that his comment helped me feel closer to the play, but
I also wondered if maybe I didn’t dwell on “death and mortality and stuff ”
a bit too much in the classroom. Teachers! What are we thinking!?
I told myself that one could learn to die, that I could learn to die, that
one can also help other people learn to die. This seems to me to be the most
important thing we can do, since we’re all of us dying men who refuse to die.
This play is an attempt at an apprenticeship in dying. And if by chance
it were helpful, then I would feel justified and would dare to think that
literature is not entirely useless.
I dedicate my work on this production to Ken Albers, mentor and friend,
and am honored by his trust and faith in me. Big shoes to fill, Ken! But
I’m happy to be standing in them.