Exit the King (Archive)

by Eugène Ionesco, translated by Donald Watson

October 1987

Ionesco is one of the most important of modern European dramatists. He is best known for his ‘Theatre of the Absurd’ plays, such as ‘Rhinoceros’ or ‘The Bald Primadonna’.

‘Exit the King’ is nothing like as strange as these, but nor is it a traditional, naturalistic play. Nothing is simply as it seems. Berenger is a mighty king; he stole fire from the gods; piloted the first aeroplane and invented gunpowder; but in the words of Marie, ‘He’s just a king. He’s just a man’. And who is Marie, besides ‘Second Wife to the King, but first in affection’?

All the other characters, his palace, his entire kingdom, are intimately bound up with the King. The kingdom and the King are in decline, and both are ‘full of holes’. In a sense, there is only one character in this play, coming to terms with his ultimate fate.

But forget all this pretentious theorising; ‘Exit the King’ is first and foremost a play to be enjoyed. Prepare to be entertained, challenged and moved!


King Berenger the First Mike Calvert
Queen Marguerite Jenny Blake
Queen Marie Chris Squire
Doctor Peter Staton
Juliette Brenda West
Guard Barry West


Producer Tony O’Hagan
Stage Manager Anne Harding
Set Design Anne Harding
Construction David Allison, Joan Hall, Anne Harding, Caroline Horne, Phil Lewis, Nigel Roach, Ian Squire, Christine Sutton, Christopher Sutton
Prompt Hazel Galvin
Props Chris Ward
Sound Chris Lawes
Lighting Ian Squire
House Manager Christine Sutton
Ticket Distribution David Allison
Printing Mike Calvert