Thursday, 23 June 2005

Footfalls by Samuel Beckett, la Mama, June 23, 2005

Footfalls  by Samuel Beckett
La Mama at Courthouse Theatre, June 23 until July 2, 2005
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

The haunting words of Samuel Beckett's Footfalls are heightened by the shuffling walk and  inner torment of his haunted character, May (Lisa Angove).

The short play is written in three section, each divided by a fading light and a resonant gong, like that used in a Buddhist temple or a high mass.

Angove, as May, is alone on stage. Her performance is compelling as this inwardly tortured character.

May's wretched existence is elaborated in the three parts of the play as she drags her bent and crippled body back and forth cross the tiny, lit space.

She is dressed in rags, her face haggard, mouth gaping and chewing at her toothless gums despite being only in her forties.

The late Ralph Wilson originally directed the play but Phil Roberts has remounted it.

In part one, May paces painfully as she speaks to her ninety-year old mother (Joyce Glynn) whose voice drifts out of the darkness.

May is solicitous to her mother, asking if she needs hr position changed, her sores dressed. Her mother is equally concerned about May's wellbeing.

In the second movement, the disembodied voice is no longer the mother. It tells the mysterious illness and malaise of the child, May. Meanwhile May paces and gapes.
The third movement that May calls "Sequel". Images of church and the symbolic crucifix or cruciform of the church are evoked and May's agony is replicated in the agonies of Christ.

Angove is exceptional in this role, finding a depth and resonance to the role. Her physical and vocal control make the play eerie and place the character somewhere between the worlds of the living and the dead.

Beckett's existential nightmare is evoked with frightening clarity in this production.

Lighting by Silvana Ianello provides an almost claustrophobic space for the tormented may to trudge her weary and interminable path.

The rhythmic and languorous pace of the movement and voice highlight the anguish of May, child and woman.

By Kate Herbert

No comments:

Post a Comment