A Night With Beckett

27 Mar

Widely known as one of the most influential writers of the 1900s, Samuel Beckett is amongst Ireland’s most famous playwrights. Beckett has many well-known plays including Waiting for Godot, Molloy, Endgame, and Krapp’s Last Tape and in 1969, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Influenced by fellow Irish writer, James Joyce, Beckett is considered one of the last modernist writers and has influenced many writers that followed. He continues to be the inspiration to writers, actors, directors and the like still today.


The Mouth On Fire Theater Company recently staged a production called “Before Vanishing…” which is composed of four short pieces by Beckett. The short plays include Ohio Impromptu, Footfalls, That Time and Come and Go which was repeated in Irish. I was lucky enough to see this production at The New Theater in Dublin during its two-week playing time.


 I went because I could get a free ticket and knew that Beckett is a famous Irish playwright, so I thought it would be a valuable cultural experience. Not knowing anything about Beckett’s style, however, I was pretty shocked at the performance. His work is very bleak and minimalist, something that I am not very used to. Needless to say, the opening performance that consisted of two, very still men just reading a story seemed rather strange to me. Honestly, I was pretty lost the entire time. I was trying to find the deeper meaning in each piece, and I’m sure there was one, I just could not seem to grasp it. What stuck me most about the work was not the story or the words, but the visuals.  Each piece was visually striking with distinct feelings portrayed through the images and lighting. The second piece was dark and sort of haunting, while the third and fourth were more well lit but still had clear moods and tones associated. The final piece was probably the most diverse as it consisted of brighter colors and a more lit stage. The three women, with their faces mostly hidden by their hats, had very sharp movements and spoke with clarity and poise. This piece was repeated a second time in Irish. I was not a fan of the Irish repetition because I was already lost when they were speaking in English, watching it again in Irish made me even more frustrated.


Overall, my night at The New Theater was very interesting. I am very happy I had the opportunity to see an Irish play so well performed while in Ireland, however, I don’t think I’ll be attending another Beckett play any time soon.


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