Beckett specialist and theatre-maker passes away
John Calder has written a tribute to 'French theatre-maker and Beckett specialist' Pierre Chabert, who passed away on 28 January:
Pierre Chabert, who has died of a cerebral haemorrhage aged 70, was one of France's leading actors in the intellectual theatre. He came to specialise in the work of both Samuel Beckett, with whom he collaborated for many years, and Robert Pinget.
In the mid-60s, Chabert was cast in Pinget's monologue L'Hypothèse (Hypothesis), in Paris. Pinget was primarily a novelist, who had started to write for the theatre and had little idea of stage direction, so he turned to his friend Beckett for advice. Beckett devised a precise staging for the production. Although he always knew (usually against the will of the director) exactly how he wanted things done, it was the first time that Beckett had directed. Chabert's article about the production has been widely reprinted over the years in many countries.
Among the other authors performed by Chabert were Pinget, Serge Rezvani, Raymond Cousse and Alain Didier-Weill. He took a particular interest in the German author Thomas Bernhard, and had recently adapted his novel, The Loser, about Glenn Gould, the Canadian pianist, for the stage.
Beckett cast Chabert in many of his own plays. He was particularly associated with Beckett's La Dernière Bande (Krapp's Last Tape). Beckett directed Chabert in the monologue in Paris in 1975. The actor performed the part all over the world. It was seen in London a few years ago at the Cockpit theatre. Chabert played many Beckett roles, most notably Hamm in Endgame in Paris in 1981, and was preparing a production of Happy Days when he died. [Read the article]