Anne Hailes reviews: The Beckett Trilogy

No I, Footfalls, Rockaby
by Samuel Beckett
MAC Theatre Belfast.
This trilogy runs until 6th September 2014.

The Beckett Trilogy at Belfast Mac Theatre lasts for only 55 minutes. One is in total darkness, one is in dim light and the third hypnotic as the character rocks in and out of the spotlight.

Three plays, one actress, the extraordinary Lisa Dawn from Athlone. She wanted to be a dancer and studied ballet before becoming an actress on both film and stage and she excels in Not I, Footfalls, Rockaby.

These are not easy plays, they confront the audience with issues that are disturbing. I found sitting in total darkness if only for 10 minutes, quite disconcerting, the only pin prick of light is focused on a pair of lips high up to the left of the stage. The lips move and the words come tumbling out, like automatic writing where the pen never leaves the paper, the words are like machine gun fire too rapid to catch sometimes but we soon know this is the voice of someone in torment from the first groans of childbirth throughout a dysfunctional life.

With the second play, ‘Footfalls’, Lisa’s ballet training shows through, she is tall and straight, walks from one side of the stage to the other and although we hear her foot steps, she glides. She’s in conversation, once as the young daughter then the old mother. Is this a real conversation or are we watching a ghost reliving her life? It’s eery and effective.

Between each short play is a sound scape, wind echoing inside pipes of all shapes and sizes is my interpretation, a young musician beside me whispered, ‘basey’. So it was, the vibration sort of rocked your insides.
Then came the final play, Rockaby. An elderly woman in a rocking chair; as she rocks forwards we see her face, as she rocks backwards she disappears out of the light. It’s mesmerising, we watch transfixed. She’s sitting, she tells us in a soft monotonous voice, at her window, quiet at her window till the end came.

Lisa Dwan deserved the applause and appreciation, three such demanding roles, each different yet each a remarkable portrait of womanhood by Samuel Beckett.

By Anne Hailes

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Post Author: Belfast Times

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