Saturday, July 20

Tag: The Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies at the University of Notre Dame’s Keough School of Global Affairs

Beckett and the Wake by John Minihan – The Yoko Ono Lennon Centre, University of Liverpool
North West

Beckett and the Wake by John Minihan – The Yoko Ono Lennon Centre, University of Liverpool

The world needs characters and Irish photographer John Minihan showed he is certainly that with this delightful anecdotal and humorous talk that explored his relationship over many years with the great playwright Samuel Beckett, renowned for being nigh on impossible to interview as well as camera-shy. Minihan first expressed a desire to photograph Beckett in 1969, following Beckett's winning of the Nobel Prize for literature, having noticed that all the available photos of Beckett were of such a poor quality it was if Beckett didn’t exist, although his first encounter was not to be until 1980 in London when Beckett was working on a production of one of his plays, Endgame. They met in the Hyde Park Hotel where Minihan’s acclaimed photographic series, The Wake of Katy Tyrell, piquing Bec...
Beckett: Unbound 2024 – The Tung Auditorium
North West

Beckett: Unbound 2024 – The Tung Auditorium

The Beckett: Unbound 2024 Festival’s music curation responds to the theatre and dance programme via six contemporary works, featuring three world-première commissions and two UK / France premières. Composer Barry Guy’s Quindecim for baroque violin (Maya Homburger) and double bass (Guy) is a response to Swiss architect and artist Max Bill’s ‘Fifteen Variations on a Single Theme’ exploring the artist’s idea that ‘once the basic theme has been chosen - whether it be simple or complex - an infinite number of different developments can be evolved according to individual inclination and temperament’. The work incorporates four Beckett texts (Thither, 10 Mirlitonnades, The Downs, One Dead of Night) into its highly intricate ‘molten architecture’. Guy’s work for solo cello and electronics ‘...
Rough for Radio II – The Tung Auditorium
North West

Rough for Radio II – The Tung Auditorium

Rough for Radio II is a Beckett radio play written in French as Pochade radiophonique and first published in 1975. Beckett translated the work into English shortly before its BBC Radio 3 broadcast on his birthday (13th April 1976). Director Vincent Higgins, in collaboration with Simon Ruding (TIPP), recorded this version in-situ with inmates at HM Prison Liverpool. A man, Animator, makes small talk with his young female stenographer (Orla Charlton): is she ready to get to work, does she have the tools of her trade? The interchange is light and familiar. He then consults a character called Dick: is he on his toes? It is his job after all to ‘encourage’ the prisoner, Fox, to talk with the use of a bull’s pizzle. Beckett’s dialogue cleverly explores the idea that the prisoner is in fac...
C’est Moi Dans la Poubelle – Victoria Gallery and Museum, University of Liverpool
North West

C’est Moi Dans la Poubelle – Victoria Gallery and Museum, University of Liverpool

When Ezra Pound was released, after twelve years, from the mental hospital he'd been committed to, he returned to Italy and lapsed into a long silence of deep regret and shame. This was not a vow of silence, just a depressed wordlessness - he felt he'd ruined everything, not least his own Cantos ('a botch - stupidity and ignorance all through'). He went to see Beckett’s Fin de Partie (Endgame in Paris) in which two of the characters, Nagg and Nell, live in trash bins. Pound reportedly broke his by now habitual silence to say ‘C’est moi dans la poubelle’ (‘That’s me in the trash’.). Beckett subsequently went to visit him in Venice and this short film, written by James Lever and directed by Michael O’Neill (Armchair & Rocket), is their reimagining of that meeting based on Beckett’s a...
Pas Moi / Not I – Toxteth Reservoir
North West

Pas Moi / Not I – Toxteth Reservoir

Michael Cummins ensures Toxteth Reservoir is perfect as the pitch-black space illuminated only by a single beam of light which is focused on an actress’ (Clara Simpson) mouth with everything else blacked out around her in this production from Once Off Productions. The mouth utters jumbled up sentences at a ferocious pace and which obliquely tell the story of a woman of about seventy who was abandoned by her family after a premature birth and has lived a loveless, mechanical existence, and who appears to have suffered an unspecified traumatic experience. Virtually mute since childhood, this is one of her occasional outbursts in which she relates four incidents from her life: lying face down in the grass; standing in a supermarket; sitting on a mound in Croker’s Acre, and ‘that time at c...
All That Fall – Toxteth Reservoir
North West

All That Fall – Toxteth Reservoir

Beckett described this radio play, first broadcast on the BBC in 1957, as ‘a text written to come out of the dark’, and director Adrian Dunbar has certainly achieved that with his choice of location and the use of Schubert’s String Quartet No. 14 (D.810) to frame his re-imagining of a radio play whose dark-driven conclusion is hardly credible after the preceding slapstick and pantomime of the foley, with Michael Cummins’ technical direction in conjunction with Simon Roth’s sound design retaining Beckett’s orchestrated sound effects with cast (Orla Charlton, Anna Nygh, Vincent Higgins, Stanley Townsend, Frankie McCafferty) and musicians (Darragh Morgan (violin), Cora Venus Lunny (violin), Fiona Winning (viola), Tim Gill (cello)) positioned behind the audience. One of Beckett’s more acce...