Exit The King

Exit the King

by Eugène Ionesco, translated by Donald Watson

The Walnut Street Theatre, Independence Studio on 3
September 1 - 20, 2015
Directed by Tina Brock


The dilapidated throne-room of King Berenger’s crumbling palace.

Exit The King - Postcard - Front (Vertical)
The Guard
Bob Schmidt
Queen Marguerite
Patricia Durante*
Jenna Kuerzi
Queen Marie
Anna Lou Hearn
The Doctor
Susan Giddings
King Berenger the First
Robb Hutter


Tina Brock

Assistant Director

Noah Lee

Costume & Set Design

Erica Hoelscher

Lighting Design

Andrew Cowles

Sound Design

Tina Brock

Stage Manager/Light and Sound Operator/Prop Construction

Mark Williams

Technical Director

Scott Cassidy

Assistant Costumer

Jessica Barksdale

Scenic Painter

Kate Coots

Red Carpet Consultant

Charisse Nelson

Ways and Means Coordinator

Bob Schmidt


Johanna Austin / AustinArt.org

Produced by arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.


Exit the King is made possible in part by generous grants from Wyncote Foundation; The Samuel S. Fels Fund; The Philadelphia Cultural Fund; Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia; The Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts program of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency with support also provided by PECO and administered regionally by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance; The Charlotte Cushman Foundation; The William Penn Foundation and by YOU: over 60% of our annual budget comes from ticket sales and individual contributions. 


Running time is approximately 90 minutes without an intermission.

Restrooms are located in the lobby, at the end of the hall.


*Member of Actor’s Equity Association



The Sound of a Dilapidated Kingdom

Thanks to these artists for their contribution to Exit the King:


Musak – Stimulus Progression

Muzak dominated the market for so many years that the term is often used as a generic term for all background music. The company began customizing the pace and style of the music provided throughout the workday in an effort to maintain productivity (a technique it called “Stimulus Progression”). The music was programmed in 15-minute blocks, gradually getting faster in tempo and louder and brassier in instrumentation, to encourage workers to speed up their pace. Following the completion of a 15-minute segment, the music would fall silent for 15 minutes. Company-funded research showed that alternating music with silence limited listener fatigue, and made the “stimulus” effect of Stimulus Progression more effective.


The Talking HeadsOnce in a Lifetime from Remain in Light (1981)

Written and Performed by David Byrne, Brian Eno, Chris Frantz,

Jerry Harrison and Tina Weymouth


Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66Mas Que Nada

Written by Jorge Ben. Performed by Sérgio Mendes, Lani Hall, Bibi Vogel, Bob Matthews, Jose Soares and Joao Palma.


Tina DavidsonFire on the Mountain, I Hear the Mermaids Singing and Lullaby from I Hear the Mermaids Singing (1996)


John Zorn – Filmworks VII: Cynical Hysterie Hour (1989)

An album by John Zorn featuring music written for a series of Japanese animated shorts that were created by Kiriko Kubo. It features Zorn’s first music for cartoons and was originally released on the Japanese Sony label in limited numbers. In late 1996 Zorn finally attained the rights for his music and remastered and re-released the album on his own label, Tzadik.  John Zorn is an American avant-garde composer, arranger, producer, saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist with hundreds of album credits as performer, composer, and producer across a variety of genres including jazz, rock, hardcore, classical, surf, metal, klezmer, soundtrack, ambient and improvised music.


Bill Frisell  –  Good Dog, Happy Man (1999)


Kevin Francis  –  The Empire Builders (2011)


Wolfgang Amadeus MozartEine kleine Nachtmusik (1787)

A composition for a chamber ensemble by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the German title means “a little serenade,” though it is often rendered more literally but less accurately as “a little night music”. The work is written for an ensemble of two violins, viola, and cello with optional double bass, but is often performed by string orchestras.


Exit the King (2015)

“…surprisingly sad and beautiful... a silly and sublime experience...”
--Mark Cofta, Philadelphia City Paper

“…uproarious and profound…intensely thought-provoking, hilarious, and heart-wrenching.”
--Debra Miller, Phindie

“…illuminates all Ionesco has to say about death...Exit the King is labeled as absurdist, as all of Ionesco is.  I think “absurdity” is too broad and ameliorating a term for Exit the King.  It is a play of masterful clarity.”
--Neal Zoren, NealsPaper.com

“...everything about this production was so electric... an anxiety attack down a red carpet littered with cigarette butts..."
--Jessica Foley, Foley Gets Comped

Director's Notes


September, 2015



Martin Esslin, author of The Theatre of The Absurd writes: "To confront the limits of the human condition is a profound mystical experience.  The Theatre of the Absurd is a reflection of what is genuinely representative of our own time… the certitudes and unshakable basic assumptions of former ages have been swept away, have been tested and found wanting...” 

 Exit the King was conceived during a period of childhood illness when Ionesco was consumed with fears of death, coupled with his obsession that one could avoid being sick and simply live forever.  “I told myself that one could learn to die, and that I could learn to die, that one can also help other people 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.”

 Since June, the cast and crew of Exit have been wrestling with these questions, mining landscapes personally and textually, navigating the twists and turns of his language and ideas. We are once again humbled by the scope and the simplicity of his premise and excited to share the next part of our discovery with you.

Thank you for helping make this theater and this experience possible.


Tina Brock
Producing Artistic Director
The Idiopathic Ridiculopathy