This week in Brussels there’s a group of Samuel Beckett’s plays on, having been directed by my friend, Róisín Dore. Plays are ‘All that Fall’, ‘Breath’, ‘Play’ & ‘Catastrophe’. She asked me to contribute with her on “Breath”
For this very short play, I needed to seek out a baby crying and to record myself breathing. Very slowly in, then exhaling, very slowly. Meanwhile, on stage, in half-light, a static image of an artful mess. I love Beckett. I supplied three breathing samples and emailed them over to her, as well as baby cries. Róisín selected and mused. I then sound edited according to her direction. A few more emails & tightening. Lastly, she came over, sat next to me before my editing screen, and we honed.
Now it is onstage. The plays opened November 24, and I was there in the audience. The production and performances (and imagination and direction) were of an uncommonly high standard. I say uncommonly, because this is what is referred to as an Amateur Production. Expectations can often be middling for an satisfying aesthetic experience in such a setting, but in my long theater-going experience, there’s only good theater and bad theater. I have experienced amateur productions that rivaled professional productions. I have seen many disasters in both. This was moving, thoughtful, fun. After the lights came up, many in the audience began buzzing conversations in their seats, the most gratifying result a production could hope for. Engagement.
Happily, the run is sold out.
Róisín also acts, and here’s a monologue she performed for me, called Hold That Thought.