Enter NoExit 



“We went for coffee and started talking about what our ideal theater could be.” Nicole Gatzimos and Ronald Gilliam, Butler University theater grads, were facing an increasingly common challenge. Now that they were out of school, they wanted to put their training to use in Indianapolis. They figured the best way to do that was to start a theater of their own.
NoExit theater group founder Nicole Gatzimos

Their new company, NoExit, is currently presenting its inaugural production, a pair of one-act plays by David Henry Hwang, The Sound of a Voice and The House of Sleeping Beauties, at the LAMP Fine Art Gallery.

Gatzimos says NoExit is dedicated to thinking outside the box that audiences have come to associate with conventional theater. “That’s where our name comes from — from the principle that there is no wrong or right way to do it. There is no one exit. There are all these doors, openings and possibilities.”

The NoExit collaborative, including scenic, lighting and sound designers, is made up mainly of alumni from Dr. John Green’s increasingly influential Butler theater department. “I think John Green’s vision is contagious,” Gatzimos says. “We have a strong priority on creating an overall environment and atmosphere. As soon as you walk in, you’ll experience another world. That’s the goal — and I think we got that from John Green.”

Experimentation and interdisciplinary work are a key part of the company’s mission. One way in which this has manifested itself in the current production has been through a novel use of the Internet. Gilliam, the production’s director, is in New York, working on his master’s degree. But he also has special expertise in Asian theater, making him uniquely qualified to direct this work. “We didn’t want to not include him in this process,” Gatzimos recalls. Through the use of eyesight Web cameras, wireless Internet connections and laptop computers, he was able to direct the cast and crew in real time.

“We consider the Internet and the Web to be an artform in itself,” Gatzimos says. “It is very important for us to take the chance and see what could happen.”

Performing in an art gallery instead of a standard theater space reflects another dimension of NoExit’s mission. “We made a very conscious effort not to perform in a theater building,” Gatzimos says. “The primary reason for that is the interdisciplinary nature of the work. It doesn’t make sense for us to say we want to work with different artforms but then seclude ourselves in our own little theater world.”

NoExit’s production of David Henry Hwang’s The Sound of a Voice and The House of Sleeping Beauties continues at LAMP Fine Art Gallery, 901 N. East St. Performances will run Sept. 23-25 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15, $10 for students. Reservations are recommended; call 971-6639, ext. 3.

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