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Krapp’s Last Tape

Opening at Tuggeranong Arts Centre, Krapp’s Last Tapeis one of Samuel Beckett’s more well-known plays.

Sitting, as I am, and contemplating what I want to say about Krapp’s Last Tape, I think about commenting on the set, the actor’s performance, the lighting, the direction; but all of that seems to undermine this play. This is a story about a man who made a decision decades ago, and whose existence is not haunted, but shaped by the consequences of that decision. And nothing matters more than that character.
Of course, the design elements have to be properly balanced, or the character won’t be visible. Ian Croker’s set, Jack Lloyd’s lighting, and Len Power’s sound design are as important as Graham Robertson’s performance, but all of these must be properly balanced, and nod gently to the presence of Beckett’s ‘hero’. I think this is the great strength of this production. All of these design elements are indeed balanced perfectly, giving the audience perfect access to the character.
I had read Krapp’s Last Tape many years ago, and enjoyed it at the time. Like any of Beckett’s work, it is difficult to read, but it absolutely sings when a performer embodies it. Graham Robertson is a veteran of the Canberra stage, and as one would expect, he brings Beckett’s miserable Krapp to life. His engrossing performance is punctuated with perfect delivery of Beckett’s dry humour.
I will argue to my dying day that the use of the word ‘absurd’ to describe Beckett’s world view is absurd. He is a logician, and his work epitomises logic. It might baffle a person who tries to read it, but in performance Beckett’s work is simplicity itself. And Krapp is a superb example of Beckett’s magnificent capacity to tell a story. Nothing beats that.
 
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Posted by on Wednesday, 29 July 2009 in Tuggeranong Arts Centre

 

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The Learned Ladies

The Learned Ladies is one of Moliere’s ingenious comedies, and his genius lies in his capacity to incorporate incidental humour into circumstantial humour inherent in the plot, and still deliver an insightful and meaningful story. These days I consider myself lucky if a comedy is even funny, but to have humour on so many levels combined with a story of value is an unparalelled joy.

Under the direction of Geoffrey Borny, and I remember his direction well from my uni days, the cast delivered an exquisite performance; well-timed, responsive to the audience, and in every way relevant despite its age.
Diane Heather and Graham Robertson gave stand-out comic performances in their hilarious roles, and Andy Burton’s Clitandre and Eleanor Garran’s Henriette were spectacularly entertaining in their more serious roles. Terry Johnson was no less noteworthy as the simpering Trissotin, proving a worthy foil for Clitandre, and a balanced complement to Naone Carrel’s appropriately ghastly Philaminte.
I couldn’t help thinking that I would like to see a staging of this play set in 21st Century Australia, with the learned ladies of the title cast as chardonnay socialists and their more pragmatic counterparts as wealthy but down-to-earth Australians.
Regardless, this was an excellent production, and while I am disappointed that I couldn’t be directly involved in it, I was pleased to be able to spend an afternoon in hysterics in the auditorium.
 
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Posted by on Saturday, 11 October 2008 in Canberra Theatre, Theatre, Tuggeranong Arts Centre

 

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