This performance will be most familiar to London audiences, having played to packed houses at the Royal Court in early 2014. The three astounding monologues for one female performer are immensely moving and famously challenging. ‘Not I’ involves a single spotlight on her mouth, which is suspended in blackness above the stage, and is similar to watching an Olympic athlete attempt a World Record feat. Dwan was coached for this performance by Billie Whitelaw, Beckett’s muse at the time of writing, who delivered the original performance in 1977. By all accounts and reviews, it is completely tremendous, and likely to sell quickly to all those who missed it this year, and those returning for more.
This production will travel about as far as is possible to reach our London stages, and Sydney Theatre Company have already won multiple prizes for taking on Beckett’s most famous piece. It will be intriguing to see it’s two star performers Hugo Weaving and Richard Rozburgh, who have appeared in films including Van Helsing, Mission Impossible, The Lord of the Rings and Matrix franchises, taking the parts of Vladimir and Estragon, the scruffy down-and-outs who wait hopelessly beneath a dying tree. We expect them to lend the exuberance and slapstick humour necessary to bring out the true pathos of this tale. Expect existential quips, atmospheric design, and the chance to see The Matrix's Agent Smith stripped of his powers.
This performance marks the greatest departure from conventional productions of Beckett, as this renowned Irish performer takes on one of his most obscure pieces of short prose. However, if anyone can do it, Fouere can, having taken on the character of The River from Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake, in ‘Riverrun’ at The National this year. Her abstract performances have been greeted with astonishment, and this promises to be no different; Beckett composed ‘Lessness’ by placing 60 sentences in a container and selecting their order randomly. We look forward to an intense and poetic encounter, in an ‘intimate space’ promised by the show’s listing.
This production from experimental Irish company Pan Pan Theatre, is perhaps the most formally inventive of the festival. Committed to a ‘totally unique expression of established writings’, this immersive setting for Beckett’s radio play stays true to their goals. The audience are placed in individual rocking chairs with cushions adorned with skulls, and lightbulbs hanging all around. Just as the writer desired his work to ‘come out of the dark’, we are then surrounded by a combination of soundscape and text, telling the tale of a woman’s journey to the train station to collect her husband. With no live performers, and a collection of rave reviews under its belt, this promises to be a transformative and unique theatrical experience.
This company collects together some true veterans, led by Sarah-Jane Scaife, who has directed Beckett’s work for over 28 years. This time the experiment takes us out of the theatre space itself, and into the world, where his characters are rescued from abstraction and located in the Barbican’s outdoor spaces. The Irish Times called this production ‘unmissable’ when it first appeared in a car park in Dublin, and it has since travelled to Tokyo. Whether you are a fan or a sceptic of site-specific theatre, this is a chance to see Beckett performed as ‘realism’, by performers who really understand him, and should not be missed.
This production formed the centre-piece of the International Beckett Festival in Enniskillen in 2012, and we are incredibly pleased to hear it will have a further life in London. Maverick director and visual artist Robert Wilson, famed for his repertory productions of Philip Glass ‘Einstein on the Beach’ and Brecht’s ‘Threepenny Opera’, as well as countless installations (and videos featuring Lady Gaga!) brings his stark, expressionistic aesthetic to this work. Furthermore, he himself will be taking the central role, reminiscing about his past life with the help of a tape-recorder. This is a show in which the personality of the performer, a leading figure in international theatre, will run alongside that of the character; we expect an unsettling and visually mesmerising version of this work.
|What||International Beckett Season, Barbican|
|Where||Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Barbican (underground)|
02 Jun 15 – 21 Jun 15, 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM
|Website||Click here for more information and to book via the Barbican|