This 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”.