Julie Daunt anticipates The Godot Company’s return to Cork’s Everyman Theatre to perform three short plays by Samuel Beckett from February 11th-13th.
While he might not be everyone’s cup of tea, you cannot deny that 1969 Nobel Prize winner Samuel Beckett is one of Ireland’s most famous, successful and influential playwrights of the twentieth century. We’ve all come across his timeless classics such as Waiting for Godot or Endgame at some point, be it in college or school. His works have been adapted for TV, with Michael Gambon taking on the role of Hamm in Endgame . Some have even argued that Waiting for Godot inspired Kevin Smith’s Clerks franchise, with Jay and Silent Bob reflecting Beckett’s Pozzo and Lucky in their characteristics (in that one is more dominant and the other offers rare but crucial monologues, not that they were also massive stoners). Beckett’s theatrical style and writing is unique and praised by critics the world over. Love him or hate him, Beckett’s brilliance cannot be ignored.
The Godot Company of London are among the most prominent production companies of Beckett’s repertoire. The company was co-founded by John Calder and Peter Marinker in 2003 and have been bringing productions of Beckett plays to Ireland for the past few years. John Calder was involved in the publishing of some of Beckett’s works and was a firm friend of the writer. The company performed three of Beckett’s lesser known works last year in The Everyman Palace Theatre, which were met with critical acclaim. Now they’re back to present another three works from Beckett’s later period. The three plays in the programme are Eh Joe, The Old Tune, and Footfalls.
Eh Joe: Starring Peter Pacey and Colette Kelly. Eh Joe was originally made for television in 1965 although, due to delays, it wasn’t broadcast until 1966. Jack MacGowran originally played Joe and Beckett wrote the part with Jack in mind. Here Peter Pacey reprises the role of the middle aged protagonist. Eh Joe tells the story of Joe who, sitting on his bed, hears the voice of his old love who accuses him of all his past misdeeds.
The Old Tune: Starring Peter Pacey and Oengus MacNamara. One of Beckett’s most amusing and lighter plays, the writer adapted this from La Manivelle (The Crank) by Robert Pinget. Transforming Pingets Parisians into Dubliners, this play tells the tale of two old soldiers who meet on a street corner and talk about the past. However, their memories often differ about people, places and other matters.
Footfalls: Starring Colette Kelly. This 1975 short, written in four parts, is said to be inspired by Beckett’s mother May who had trouble sleeping and would often pace the halls at night. This dark play recalls the character of May who walks backward and forward while her old mother, in bed above, hears her and speaks to her. Is May a ghost? Is Amy, who she sees in a locked up church late at night, another ghost? This play is a complex tale of memory, fear and madness.
Overall, these works provide an insight into Beckett’s later years and show how his style developed. If you are a fan of his classic psychological and dark works like Endgame and Waiting for Godot, then this is one performance you definitely don’t want to miss.
“Beckett x3 – Three Short Plays by Samuel Beckett” by the Godot Company runs at The Everyman from Monday 11 to Wednesday 13 February at 8pm, so hurry if you want to see it! Tickets prices €25, €20 concession and €9 student ticket. Visit www.everymanpalace.com for more information.