“Not I; Footfalls; Rockaby” by Samuel Beckett

at the Royal Court Theatre, Friday 17th January 2013

…. out… of the darkness… a mouth… higher than we thought… muttering something… something about the world… what?… hell?… yes, maybe hell… speeding through… the… speeding through the wor-… the mouth… it clicks… claps… titters… the darkness consumes… stifling and… and… stifling and penetrating… no light like it… hard to tell whether or not the… hard to tell… clapping… mouthing the words through the blackness of… a cough… she’s a woman, a woman in the… only ten seconds gone… a voice which grates… woman in the darkness… something about God… back to the… did the light just move… something about… getting darker… unlike the darkness in… unlike the darkness in the night of the world… this is the first… the first of three… the headline act which… darker than before… clap… what?… who?… no!… she!… [Pause]… the movement… the movement in the text is gone… no figure in the dark… just a mouth in the dark… and she dances over the… back to the start… something about God… difficult to… darkness still there… a thought… performance poetry and the spoken word… but the figure with the arms… we’ve heard of the different versions… the mouth… it’s smaller than before… high in the air… in the front row… far… clap clap… maybe she… maybe she hasn’t moved [Brief laugh] … God… [Good laugh] … the darker darkness… making a story out… out into the breach… and this is the first… of the three which… trying to find a… was that the same woman… woman from last… rubbing the face… rubbing my face… what if the itch?… itching down from the sky from the thing on the… the eyes… the eyes we thought we had… from before I thought… must buy some milk… drifted away… back to the past… something about her… is she the same… making a… from… round… it’s the first… and she felt that down…. in the dumps… thought a big… in my head a bigger… the mouth so small… why would it be?… only three minutes… how many words?… is it upside the down… what?… who?… no!… she! [Pause]… no movement… realise the light… we need the light… the light from God… no movement… an extreme version… making a story… Farncombe’s pinprick… popping… plucking plunging… round the bend and into the… from here it’s… she didn’t know that… how long again?… milks in the bags… an extreme… must go back to the words in the… did she miss… washing… and then Lisa… she goes like the clap… clap… clapping at the end?… or… or at the end end? [Brief laugh]… God… [Good laugh]… hard to know… she speaks as a fast… I have to say… have to say I’ve never… look… Beckett’s a… never really liked the way… four minutes… is it religious… spirituality just… Beckett doesn’t quite… the estate just… she’s discussing a park… an affair… or nothing… the estate isn’t exactly… not exactly the enabler of artistic… the… blur into one… time goes slower… and faster… slower and faster… always hard… always hard with Beckett… want to say the ‘t’ word… the estate acts like… like the ‘t’ word… shunning… experiments which made… the light went up… experi… she believes in a… Lisa believes in a… can’t work out if it… God… God… Oh… [Brief laugh]… God… [Good laugh]… the text is… is it?… at the hearty… home is where… making too much of a muchness of meaning… like the moments… same she as before?… what?… who?… no!… she!…[Pause]… back to Beckett… back to back… back to the… I’ve just never… makers must… stipulations… rules… yes… rules are helpful… but two too… to… too many… Beckett… his name in the lights… would he… she… would he… want…. meaning off the moaning… time must be soon… the other two… falling of feet… nine steps… a voice from the… again the darkness… voices of old… in the darkness… nice to have some light… I can see my hand… the illusion dissolves… she…. moving and gliding… lighting the tricks… tricks… of the light… Eales… eels… slippery eels… tight grasp over the book…. miming the words… a voice… over the stage… the third of the three… baby… by… a… rock… a chair… the Woman in… black lifting up… a… a… voices in the dark… the back of the… Royal Court back wall… noticing the breaths… down from the blackness… hard to know… it’s just… one of three… the coming together of light and dark… wants to say a word… she… want to say a word… the together… one is together… the text of the… text in… rumbling of air… a cough… she continues the rant… all in nine… skipping down the… breathing in the dark… sighing in the black… difficult to know… poems of poets… how long until?… estates disappear… give it a… a while before she… dated… once upon a time we… how many minutes… strapped… strapping… others are more… not as… she who is the she… or not the she… the story which we… no story of course… we do this to ourselves… story through… the devil in disguise… becoming succumbing… and don’t know whether… all the time something niggling… something niggling from the… we ought to chall-… the darkness is the most… it’s the thing which… the others… maybe… maybe… the painless pain of… never do know… must be eight… the pace the same… the same pace… bracing… mouth… dress… chair… a mouth dressing a chair… mouthing a chair in a dress… want more than… can’t know how… she wishes her wish… wishful… blinking… the dark despair from… a movement again… moving the mouth… teeth clapping… do we… a climax or not… damn my-… when we go… eyes adjust… and feel like… feeling the eyes… the God… God… better the Beckett you know… what?… who?… no!… she!… SHE!…

Photo: Allan Titmuss

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