Beckett at Royal Court Theatre

spread-2009-07-23This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I’m   in the stalls of The Royal Court Theatre. There’s a total audience of three. we are about to see the dress rehearsal  before tonight’s  sold out press night of a Beckett Trilogy.  It is Not I, Footfall and Rockaby.   We are plunged into darkness.  One mouth appears on stage and the fierce force of Beckett begins. In the sole actor,  Lisa  Dwan I’m led through the dark wit and  blackness of Beckett’s soul and genius.

Beckett shines  light on the darkness of  familial perversions.  “Will you never have done revolving it all”   says a taunting and dying  mother to her pacing and distressed daughter.   There is deep trauma in Beckett. His  pen drills into  the  skin flesh and bone of his characters. He will get to the  dark matter were the great lines lie if it kills him and his actor. This is great theatre. Audience,  allow yourself  to be stunned.

Lisa Dwan is my close  friend. Sloane Square is full of rain when I leave Royal Court Theatre. Exhilarated.   The world is sweating. Wet news print says the UK’s biggest public enquiry  into  abuse of young people in care  in Northern Ireland  begins. I saw Terry Christians  “Naked Confessions of  A Recovering Catholic” on Friday and though he maintains it is comedy he talks of abuse at St Bedes.   On Sunday  I met my old friend whose father in law was in the sunday times that same day  talking of the abuse at the same school Terry mentions in his stand up.  Then there’s Philomena.

Dwan’s daunting voice stays in my mind. it’s a crackly bitter and dying voice directed at the distressed daughter in Footfalls who could just as well be the whole of Ireland today    “Will you never have done  revolving it all in your poor mind?”    She repeats the last two words “ It  all”.   She pauses and repeats again     “it….all”.


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