Director’s Note: ‘Two by Beckett: Footfalls and Krapp’s Last Tape

“…enormous warmth, humour and compassion at the heart of his writing.”

Samuel Beckett is best known for his play Waiting For Godot, a work which could truly be said to have completely reinvented theatre. The drama of two tramps waiting at a crossroads for a man called Godot who had promised to turn up, but not said when, seemed to capture the world’s imagination in a way no other drama had done. He followed it with Endgame, which cemented his reputation as a master playwright.

Beckett went on to write many more plays, restlessly experimenting, stripping back what was possible on stage as far as he could, seeking a startling image to convey what he was trying to express. Elysium Theatre Company are proud to be presenting two of these later, great plays, Krapp’s Last Tape and Footfalls, one written for a man, the other written for two women. Both are wonderfully rich, poetic, moving plays about life, love, longing and loss. One in particular (I will leave the audience to decide which) is often hugely funny. Both are unique. Together they make two halves of an evening which is intended as a celebration of this remarkable playwright, revealing two sides of his understanding of the human heart.

It has been a wonderful challenge working on these two pieces. Beckett’s writing is famously precise and as actors and director we’ve really had to raise our game to meet what he wanted. At the same time what we have found is the enormous warmth, humour and compassion at the heart of his writing. We expected a rigid formality, but in fact the plays have a deep romanticism in them, a real yearning for a better life, a poetic sense of what it is to be human and an authentic humour that can really make you laugh.

Elysium TC’s goal is to bring great world theatre to Durham and the North East. We are delighted to be presenting these two wonderful plays at the Assembly Rooms, our current home, as part of the Durham Festival of Arts. We hope people will find them as rich to experience as have found rehearsing them. This is our third production in the city. We hope there will be many more.

Two by Beckett is on at 7.30pm, Saturday 23rd June- Sunday 24th June at The Assembly Rooms Theatre.

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