Author Topic: Beckett's Not I with Lisa Dwan  (Read 7902 times)

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Online Iain Fisher

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Beckett's Not I with Lisa Dwan
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2009, 04:29:21 PM »
Excerpts from The Guardian review of the performance of Not I by Lis Dwan in London as part of the literature festival in the South Bank yesterday:

"Lisa Dwan's take on Samuel Beckett's one-mouth play Not I – performed immobilised, blindfolded and with no time to swallow – was the fastest yet, and a privilege to behold...

...I defy anyone to come up with a more intense theatrical experience than Samuel Beckett's Not I. In otherwise complete darkness, a disembodied female mouth, known as Mouth, about eight feet above the stage, delivers a hyper-rapid stream of consciousness, a mixture of reminiscence and evasion, an existentially terrifying babble, hinting at deep trauma and extinction of self...

The key word here is "disembodied", for Beckett said the piece is to be delivered as quickly as possible, "at the speed of thought". It is as close as the theatre will ever get to representing a mental interior...

...To perform this piece is to stand very much in the shadow of Whitelaw, who was patiently but exhaustively coached by Beckett himself. Dwan, in her turn, was coached and advised by Whitelaw; there is the sense of a baton being passed on, a legacy.

... dwan has performed the piece before... but this had the feel of a canonical stage moment. And the performance itself– let us just say there were moments when the hairs went up on the back of one's neck. Whitelaw could not do the Irish accent Beckett heard in his head (it would have been too much like acting, which Beckett abhorred); Dwan has the accent, and the pace. Whitelaw's performance will always be the definitive one, but Dwan, perhaps, has delivered something even closer to Beckett's intentions. It was a privilege to hear her."
« Last Edit: July 08, 2009, 05:14:32 PM by Iain Fisher »