Friday, March 31, 2006

Beckett's Simplicity

I can’t help thinking that among the many reasons theatre companies like to stage the works of Samuel Beckett is the simplicity of it all. Ok, his ‘dramaticule’ Breath which lasts just a couple of seconds and features no onstage actors is on the extreme end of things. But that piece (which will be performed as part of the Beckett Centenary event by Amanda Coogan) is only one of many in which the playwright’s famous barebones style leads to eminent stageability.

There’s Not I, which features one performer, of whom only the lips are visible. There’s Come and Go, which contains just over 100 words. And who could forget Act Without Words, which true to its word, has none.

Two of the most resilient of Irish theatre production are back doing the rounds at the moment, both of which employ an economy of style of which Beckett might be proud, if, that is, he were ever to turn his attention to speed dating or the Munster rugby team.

John Breen’s clearly immortal, Alone It Stands, (which returns to the Olympia on 24 April) uses a cast of six to conjure up not just the Muster first IX, but also the entire All Blacks team and a retinue of wives, girlfriends and alicados; while only two performers, Iseult Golden and Carmel Stephens bring to life the many hopefuls in attendance at a Dublin speed dating event in Tick My Box (The Helix). These hilarious shows have been on so many times, there seems little chance you have not already seen one or both, but if you haven’t, then perhaps Beckett can wait.

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