Michael Lawrence adapts Samuel Beckett's landmark play
|Michael Lawrence in Krapp, 39. Photograph: Dixie Sheridan © 2009|
Written and performed by Michael Laurence
Directed by George Demas
Reeling on his 39th birthday, an actor's obsessive identification with Beckett's famous character compels him to examine his own quixotic life: his fears, his failures, and his search for (and forfeiture of) love, all in preparation to record a version of the 39-year-old Krapp's soliloquy, for an imagined production of Krapp's Last Tape in the year 2038.
Michael Lawrence: Krapp, 39 really started out as a lark. An actor’s stunt. I’ve always loved Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape. For me it is a seminal solo show, and a masterpiece of minimalism and modernism. And it’s one of those roles, like Lear, I suppose, that lies in wait for you at the end of your acting career like a mountain summit, if you’re lucky enough to make it that far. Years ago I saw a beautiful production by my friend Jason Bauer in a basement theater in the East Village, NYC. Jason was in his early thirties at the time, but with a fearlessness that was typical of him, he took on the role of old man Krapp and was transcendent. Jason tragically died of alcoholism a few years later at the age of 39. Which is very spooky in a way, because that is the age of Krapp’s recorded 'younger self' that 69-year-old Krapp listens to in the play. Anyway, walking home in the snow that night after seeing his production, I got it in my head that when I turned 39, I would record the 39-year-old Krapp’s monologue so that I could use it in the year 2038 when I’m 69 and ready to play the role. Like I said, an actor’s stunt, but it made me smile.The production runs from 22nd November - 22nd December, excluding Sundays.
Fast-forward to 2008, and I was about to turn 39, and the themes of Beckett’s play were burning inside me: end of youth, artistic failure, loss of romantic love. (And the death of a parent - my own mother had passed away from cancer not so long ago - another tragic, early death.)
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