Wednesday, August 29, 2012

"when all my dust has settled"

It's been a long time since I posted anything on Samuel Beckett. Hence, I was most interested to come across an interview with Robert Wilson on the Economist's "Prospero" blog, on the occasion of his staging and performing, himself (after a ten year hiatus from acting), Beckett's play, "Krapp's Last Tape." I was surprised to learn that Wilson's production of of this play at the first, appropriately-named, “Happy Days” Beckett Festival, which will be in the town of Enniskillen in Northern Ireland, will be its English and Irish premiere.

Photo from The Economist "Prospero" blog

I have a long and fruitful fascination with the theater of the absurd, which is why I love Camus and Ionesco. It would be saying too much to type that I love Beckett, while I have a certain fondness for the kind of existential honesty he sought to reveal, I can only admit to having a deep fascination with him. The result of reading Beckett is similar to being punched in the gut.

“Krapp’s Last Tape” is a philosophical take on a 69-year-old man, who, on his birthday, listens to a thirty year-old tape. It is a reflection on life and fleeting nature of happiness, which is a major theme in St. Augustine's Confessions (his liturgical memorial was yesterday). Below is a performance by John Hurt in a critically acclaimed performance from a recent performance, a review of which you can read here.

I would love to see Wilson's production, which will be performed
I start with the light movement first which are not dependent on the audio score. They have their own structure and laws and can be performed separately. But when seen together, something else happens. They can reinforce one another without having to illustrate each other. I try not to impose any one means to a work. It remains an open question.

My work is formal. It is not interpretive. To me interpretation is not the responsibility of the director, the author or the performer: interpretation is for the public
I love this quote because it could (and should) be applied to liturgy as well. Otherwise, it just takes on the idiosyncracies of the presider. I mean, there is plenty to think about and to do in preparation for a formal celebration, but I love liturgical presiders, directors and performers who aim for this. To do otherwise is arrogant.

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