Saturday, 19 March 2011

The Beckett Trilogy: Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnamable

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
4 stars
There’s a revelatory moment in the third part of Conor Lovett’s
astonishingly sustained solo rendering of Samuel Beckett’s trilogy of
novels that get to the very core of identity, mortality and existence.
It comes when Lovett, locked in the rolling interior monologue of The
Unnamable and standing in some neo-realist angled doorway, turns to
look at his own shadow towering above him. As the two figures seem to
stare each other out, it’s as if there’s a monkey on the real man’s
back that’s bigger, all-seeing and intangible as it guards the gateway
to the abyss.

Such an image is the perfect metaphysical illustration to a show that
begins with the sound of a wordless aria by Gorecki, and ends in empty,
blacked-out silence. Lovett steps out of the audience and into a large
spotlight for Molloy, the most conventionally realised of the three
works in Judy Hegarty Lovett’s demandingly austere production for
Dublin’s Gare St Lazare Players. What emerges over the next three hours
through the even more internalised Malone Dies and beyond is something
that’s part freeform meditation, part existential stand-up routine
laced with gallows humour as discursive as Ronnie Corbett and as deep
and dark as Dave Allen.

The naked I has never looked quite so exposed, as Lovett’s sense of
pace and stillness matches his casually understated delivery and
fondness for silent longeurs. As the show’s final moments roll towards
the inevitable, Lovett’s life and death decision sees him finally take
the path of least resistance. When he goes, as he walks towards the
door, his shadow shrinks into oblivion with him.

The Herald, January 24th 2011

ends

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