Acclaimed dancer and actor performs in Beckett's short dramatic works
Mikhail Baryshnikov stars in "Beckett Shorts," a 70-minute compilation of four brief plays by Samuel Beckett. The show, at the New York Theater Workshop, was directed by JoAnne Akalaitis, a founder of the experimental theater troupe Mabou Mines and the former artistic director of the Public Theater.In December 2007, ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov starred in a series of 'Beckett Shorts' at the New York Theater Workshop. While in many respects Baryshnikov's performance offers an ambitious reworking of some of Beckett's shorter dramatic work, critical reception to the productions was cool. The New York Times reviewed the four plays, and photographer Sara Krulwich captured images of the performances:
Mikhail Baryshnikov, who defied gravity as a ballet dancer, is gravity’s slave in “Beckett Shorts,” which opened on Tuesday night at the New York Theater Workshop. Mr. Baryshnikov enters falling in the opening segment of this 70-minute compilation of four brief plays by Samuel Beckett. And for the rest of the show you can feel good old physics tugging at feet that once took flight like no one else’s.More on A Piece of Monologue:
This grounding of a winged dancer poignantly captures the harsh laws of Beckett’s universe, where Mother Earth never stops pulling people toward the grave. Mr. Baryshnikov’s elfin-prince face is eloquent in its mix of weariness, resignation and a hopeful glimmer of tenacity. But he’s got more than physics working against him in this production, directed by JoAnne Akalaitis, a founder of the experimental theater troupe Mabou Mines and the former artistic director of the Public Theater.
As if to prove the fallacy of imitative form, the show itself feels earthbound in ways that do no one, including Beckett, any favors. Visually and aurally stylish (the hypnotic original music is by that hypnotic master Philip Glass), “Beckett Shorts” offers a lovely frame for a study in human frustration that only occasionally comes to life. [Read More]