Beckett Shorts

By Samuel Beckett

Directed by Joanna Settle 

Presented by XO Projects, Inc.

The Old American Can Factory, Brooklyn

 

 

About the Texts:

Act Without Words I

Written in French in 1956, this solo performance, described by the author as “a mime for one player.” is in many ways not typical of Beckett. For one, there are no words, or more precisely, only one elemental word – water. While much has been made of the names of Beckett’s characters, this protagonist is nameless. He is flung backwards onto a bare stage and silently (with more than a hint of vaudeville) does battle with an unseen , taunting protagonist.

 

 

Rockaby

Written in English in 1980, this eight-minute play reveals a woman rocking to and fro in a rocker, gazing out a window. Her inner thoughts are heard in voiceover. Occasionally, she speaks. This delicate, rarely produced short is traditionally performed by an elderly actress, but in this case is performed by company member Katie Taber, continuing D13’s commitment to presenting Beckett’s existential questions as faced by young and old alike.

 

 

Breath

Written in 1969 in response to Kenneth Tynan’s request for a piece to include in his show Oh, Calcutta, which features a series of risqué sketches, Breath lasts less than a minute. On a set full of rubbish, a person cries out, then breathes in again.

 

 

That Time

Similar to the formal experimentation of Play, That Time, written in English between 1974 and 1975, intercuts three monologues from three separate periods of time in the experience of one character. Each voice, ‘A’, “B’ and ‘C’ recall separate stories. The pattern is precise, with each voice speaking four times during the course of each of three scenes, all of which are marked off by silences. The first and second scenes offer precise parallel patterns, the third offers a pattern repeated three times. Time and visions of nothingness burden each voice. D13’s site-specific, water-bound staging of this work is designed to engage the text on its most poetic level.

 

 

About the Production:

Comprised of four plays, Beckett SHORTS [4] led the audience through the 140,000 sf Old American Can Factory complex allowing them to experience each play in a unique location. Rooftops, stairwells and a basement lake provided a distinct and evocative environment for each performance. 

Beckett SHORTS [4] continued Division 13’s history of producing Beckett’s short plays in unique locations. Previous acclaimed productions include PLAY (“Intensely interested audiences of forty to sixty people stood on the sidewalk for the full forty minutes in chilly, wet autumn weather. The power of the production was undeniable.”) and the Chicago production of ROCKABY. (“The language ebbed, rushed, and repeated without ever seeming monotonous or unnatural. Though the play explores the experience of aging and the approach of dissolution, the ultimate effect is not depressing. Memories, characters, and voices fill the room to make a profound case for how much life can be distilled from the most diminished human situations.”)

 

 

Program Information:

Director: Joanna Settle

Lighting Design: Peter West

Sound Design: Mike Frank

Production Stage Manager: Lisa Gavaletz

Assistant Sound Design: Stephen Bettridge

 

 

Act Without Words I

Building E Chapel

Performance: Stephen Rishard 

Set Design: Andrew Lieberman 

Violin: Obadiah Eaves

Rigging Operators: Lisa Gavaletz and Andrew Carranza

Light and Sound Operator: Stephen Bettridge

 

 

Breath

Building F Roof 

Installation Design: Joanna Settle 

Voice-over: Rachel Sledd

 

 

That Time

Building A Cellar

Performance: Anne DeAcetis 

Site Design: Nathan Elbogen

Sound and Light Operator: Lisa Gavaletz

 

 

Rockaby

Building A Roof 

Performance: Katie Taber 

Sound and Light Operator: Stephen Bettridge

Date

October 31 – November 2, 2003

Category

Division 13