Without Shadows, an existential thriller, is
considered one of the most provocative plays
to be penned by Jean-Paul Sartre, France's towering
intellectual personality of the post-war period.
Richly symbolic with a dramatic storyline, the
work, set during the last days of Nazi German
occupation in France, conveys Sartre's deep
philosophical outlook through an eventful period
in modern world history.
is 1944. Five Resistance fighters are captured
after failing in a mission to liberate a village,
and are locked up in an attic. One by one, they
are taken out for questioning by their captors
for information on the whereabouts of their
leader Jean. Even as they overhear news of Allied
forces closing in to drive off their enemies,
a drama begins to unfold in their midst that
puts their very principles and humanity to the
setting is based during the last days of the
Second World War in occupied France, as the
British army is heard over the radio arriving
to help fight off the occupiers. First published
in 1946, the play has been described by The
New York Times as "a searing examination
of the limits to which one's free will may be
Without Shadows is now staged for the French
Arts Festival in Malaysia, in what promises
to be an intense showcase of theatre by visionary
young arts group Cape Poetics. The performance
is directed by veteran Jayaram Menon. With its
colourful characters and climactic scenarios,
the play has been hailed as a significant literary
work particularly because it was inspired by
the playwright's own experience of fighting
and detention by Nazi collaborators during the
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