looking like krapp

08Jun11

Beckett locates his 1958 play thus;

A late evening in the future.

Wearish” old man Krapp listens to the declamations of his younger self via a thirty year-old reel-to-reel tape recording. He skirts any sentimental reflection over the death of his mother, brooding instead on memories of an anonymous nurse or the incomparable bosom of a passer-by.

Krapp’s Last Tape has become a classic rumination for the actor in his twilight years. Pinter, Hurt, Gambon… and famously Max Wall. Early reaction to me performing the role was greeted with surprise. You’re not old enough! But the real revelation is that Beckett wrote the part at the age of 51 for a 37-year old Patrick Magee. And “a late evening in the future” is exactly that – a projection of the future-self looking back on moments of the lived present…. all of which – as I write – happened yesterday, infact.

Krapp’s Last Tape proved an ideal warm-up act to the very last showing of Model Love, performed to a packed house in the Wickham Theatre at Bristol University. It is four years since the start of the project, and the successive versions of the show – as installation, print and performance  – span a period of intense lightnesses and darks, which have spilled off the paper into life. Ed Dimsdale’s brilliant images from those early love-story photo-books provided the substance from which the work grew.

photo: Edward Dimsdale

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