Beckett Plays – Play Shorts II
Beckett Plays – Play Shorts II
By Samuel Beckett
Empty Spaces Theater Company
At the Lowndes Shakespeare Center, Orlando, FL</strong>
One question that never crosses you mind during Beckett is “Will he get the Girl?” By normal dramatic and story conventions, Absurdism focuses instead on the folly and futility of life and how we cling to it. As part of John DiDonna’s ambitious effort to present the entire corpus of Beckett’s work, this evening explores 5 of his latter works, most of which were written and originally produced in the early 80’s. “Act Without Words I” (with John Bateman and Jessica Pawli, directed by John DiDonna, Anna Demers and Kevin Becker) feels as if the main character is trapped in a goofy science experiment. Random objects drop from above, nearly but not completely allowing our protagonist to survive or die, but never giving him the resources he needs to resolve life one way or the other.
“Rockaby” (with Peg O’Keef, directed by Laura Lippman) appears to represent an old woman’s random thoughts as she rocks her day away, trapped in a cycle off little change and even less reason for change. The cycle repeats hypnotically, prompted by the single word “More…” But after a while, you felt “more” was more than enough.
“Catastrophe” (with Lori Engle, John Kelly and Jeff Lindberg, directed by DiDonna and Becker) finds a sad looking actor atop a plinth under the questioning and arrogant eye of impresario Lindberg. The pose, the color and the concept are not quite up to his standards, and workman Engle hustles to meet his arbitrary desires, even as she spoils what she knows to be her masterpiece. That’s a job; you work hard, some jerk shows up from corporate, spoils it and takes the credit.
There was an intermission. The lights did not come up for it, but there was a loud buzzing noise on the PA. The audience took it in stride.
Act 2 contained “What Where” ( with John Bateman, Kevin Becker, Nathan Raley, and Corey Volence, directed by Anna DeMers) This may or may not have occur in a future world with only 5 survivors, each clad in black robes like monks from a science fiction film. Confessions were demanded, and incorrect response resulted in someone receiving “The Works”. As ‘The Works” appears fatal, the cast dwindled down to one person, ending the play.
The final piece on this evening’s program was “Ohio Impromptu” (With DiDonna and Lindberg, directed by DiDonna and Christian Kelty). Perhaps the most enigmatic in this puzzle collection, two men sit at a table as one reads a small repetitive story consisting only of short words and other passive verbs. An occasional knock on the table paces him, but the words need to be said, are said, and don’t really influence the next set of words. This, like all the plays seems like reflections of the futility of life. Over all, it was a very existential program. You should see it, even if it really is meaningless in the grand scheme of the universe.
For more information on Empty Spaces Theater Company, visit http://www.emptyspacestheatre.org</a</em>>