Elmer's English 304 Magazine

Theatre Review

Pick of the Vancouver Fringe Festival - 2002

An Evening with Beckett

by Samuel Beckett

Company: Tandem Productions, Vancouver, B.C.

Five Short Plays:

Come and Go
    Directors:Craig Hall, Erin Wells
    Cast:Vi - Courtenay Dobbie; Flo - Clarence Sponagle;
Ru - Sarah Susut
    Director:Ian Fenwick
    Cast:M - Robin Richardson; W2 - Erin Monahan;
W1 - Melinda Esworthy
Act Without Words
    Director:James Fagan Tait
    Cast:Man - Peter Anderson
    Director:Katrina Dunn
    Cast:Mouth - Erin Wells
    Director:Christiane Raymond
    Cast: Assistant - France Perras; Protagonist - Jean Michel;
Director - John Murphy; Luke - Lyne Barnabe

Venue: Waterfront Theatre, 1412 Cartwright Street

Date: Saturday, September 21, 2002, 8:30 P.M.

Reviewer: Elmer G. Wiens

"Shall we hold hands in the old way?"

Tandem Productions presentation of five of Beckett's short plays epitomized humanity's dilemma: How can a person know oneself and connect with others? Life is futile. Without hope, humans are impotent in their quest for a meaningful life.

Beckett sets a difficult (impossible?) task for actors. Tandem Productions' answer is to assault the audience with darkness, lights, grotesque costumes, actors speaking in loud and often shrill voices, a moving tree, and a clown.

Beckett himself was stabbed on a Paris street by a panhandler wanting money, and lived in France as Nazi Germany attacked Europe and the world.

"May we not speak of the old days?"

During the eighty minutes that I sat in the Waterfront Theatre, I felt confused, alienated, bored, scared by the Mouth, conspicuous, and imprisoned. Imprisoned because near the end during "Catastrophe," I really had to use the toilet. I clamped down to see the last part of "Come and Go." The three girl friends were lovely.

When Beckett asked his jailed assailant why he assaulted him, his attacker said,

"Je ne sais pais."

© Elmer G. Wiens

An Evening with Beckett at the Waterfront Theatre, 1412 Cartwright Street: September 19, 7:30 PM; September 21, 8:30 PM; September 22, 9:45 PM


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