Don’t let the name fool you, “Je Suis Dead” (or, “I Am Dead”), is a play very much about the living.
The New York debut of Fool’s Proof Theatre’s play, opening Sept. 30 at the Irondale Center, teeters the line between the fictional and everyday, borrowing from the real-life experiences of company members — and, no doubt, a touch of Sartre.
The darkly comedic result is a puzzling piece centered around three strangers in the aftermath of a near-fatal train accident — a bit of “No Exit” if we ever heard it. Hell is other people? You betcha.
In this version of the ultimate Existential question, though, each character’s unique reaction to the post-trauma world is front and center. The aloof teacher, for example, must get down and dirty; the master-of-the-universe businessman adjusts to being knocked off his perch; and a lonely office worker finally learns to reach out to others.
Along the way, ghosts of the past — including a Berlin Dadaist, a turn-of-the-century British explorer, and a housewife from the South — flit in and out.
Tough to understand? But of course.
“The play is thought provoking,” said Mary Pearson, one of Fool’s Proof Theatre’s three core members. “We don’t try to make work that is too easily consumed. We’re happy if it stays with viewers for days.”
The director of the Irondale Center said she was honored to have the U.K.-based theater company debut its work in little old Fort Greene.
“It’s compelling, but it’s funny,” said a spokeswoman of Irondale. “There are only three actors, so it’s highly visual in terms of light and costume. The play is a wonderful self-reflective piece that reveals certain truths about us all.”
“Je Suis Dead” at the Irondale Center [85 S. Oxford St. between Lafayette and Greene avenues in Fort Greene, (718) 488-9223], Sept. 30–Oct. 2 at 8 pm. Tickets $25. For info, visit www.irondale.org.