Conor Lovett to perform at York Beckett festival

The Gare St Lazare Players will appear at the Samuel Beckett: Out of the Archive conference and festival this June
Conor Lovett in First Love. Photo: Ros Kavanagh
Gare St Lazare Players present First Love and The End 
Venue: Dixon Studio Theatre, Wentworth College
Times: Wed June 22 to Fri June 24 at 8pm; Sat June 25 at 5pm
First Love and The End

Gare St Lazare Players’ arresting stage adaptations of Samuel Beckett’s First Love and The End, two short stories originally written in French in 1946, provide a perfect introduction to the writer’s work.

In First Love a man recounts an episode from his youth when, having been ejected from the family home upon his father's death, he meets a young woman on a canal-side bench. Described by Christopher Ricks as “a masterpiece of Beckettian perversity”, First Love is awash with Beckett's signature balancing of comedy and tragedy. This is paired with a similarly heartbreaking and hilarious production, The End, which features a man near the end of his life, expelled from an institution of care and left to fend for himself.

Conor Lovett, considered by many to be the definitive Beckett performer, brings these one man tours de force to life, while Judy Hegarty Lovett’s innovative direction is typical of a company renowned for their ability to expose the compassion, humour and integrity of Beckett’s work.

Recent reviews
Conor Lovett’s supremely funny performance in First Love, a solo stage adaptation of an early postwar Beckett novella, is such a pleasing triumph because its gallows humor emerges so organically, the result of a prepared actor with a deep understanding of the text.
The New York Times
His control is exquisite. Comedians would kill for such timing where every nuance is in focus and every word a gem.
The Sunday Times
A triumph of literary excavation… Judy Hegarty Lovett and her performer have traced every thought within a tangle of prose, ideas and corrosive wit.
The Irish Times
Beckett's pain is Lovett's audience's gain.
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Conor Lovett is considered by many critics to be the greatest Beckett interpreter alive today and judging by the standing ovation he received on Thursday evening from an Arts Festival audience that had been sitting in the same position for nigh on three hours, this reputation has been solidified.
Australian Arts Hub
One could hardly come up with a better human instrument to intone the sonorous waves of Beckett’s blasphemous comic prose than Conor Lovett.
Los Angeles Times

Gare St Lazare Players Ireland
Conor Lovett in First Love. Photograph: Ros Kavanagh
Over the past fourteen years Gare St Lazare Players Ireland has established an international reputation for artistic excellence. GSLPI has built a repertoire of Beckett works including ten novels, numerous short stories and prose works, seven radio plays and one solo play. The collaborative output of joint artistic directors Judy Hegarty Lovett (director) and Conor Lovett (actor) has consistently received plaudits for entirely accessible and faithful renditions of Beckett’s prose that highlight equally the humanity and humour inherent in the work of the Nobel Prize-winning author.

GSLPI came out of the original Gare St Lazare Players, an international company founded in Chicago by Bob Meyer in 1983 which moved to France in 1988. Judy Hegarty Lovett and Conor Lovett founded the Irish company in 1996. The group rehearses either in Cork or in Mericourt (France) and premieres work in Ireland before touring internationally, having performed in seventy cities in over twenty countries. Recent years have seen international tours to Australia, Bulgaria, China, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Israel, Poland, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, UK and the USA. They have presented Beckett on some of the world’s great stages, among them The National Theatres of Great Britain, Bulgaria, Romania and Israel, as well as Steppenwolf (Chicago), Stadschowburg (Rotterdam), The National Concert Hall (Dublin), Schiffbau (Zurich), The English Theatre (Berlin), Riverside Studios (London) and the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre.

Judy Hegarty Lovett has a Fine Art degree in Performance Art/Mixed Media and a postgraduate diploma in Dramatherapy. She worked as a photographer and set designer with a number of Cork theatre companies before joining the original Gare St Lazare Players in 1991 as an assistant to Artistic Director Bob Meyer. In 1996 she directed Conor Lovett in Molloy by Samuel Beckett in London and shortly thereafter the pair set up Gare St Lazare Players Ireland.

Hegarty Lovett’s Beckett directing credits include Waiting for Godot, Rockaby and prose recitals of Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable, Lessness, Enough, Texts For Nothing, Worstward Ho, First Love and The End. In April 2006 for the Beckett Centenary Festival in Dublin, she directed new versions of Beckett’s radio plays as well as readings of Beckett’s prose and poetry by Tony Award Winner Anna Manahan and renowned Irish actors David Kelly and John Kavanagh.

Hegarty Lovett’s notable credits also include a revival of Lessness at the National Theatre in 2001; a staged reading of The Great Hunger by Tom McIntyre at The Abbey Theatre in 2004; and a mask piece called Anseo at The Glucksman Gallery, Cork in 2005. Other non-Beckett directing credits include Bouncers by John Godber, The Possibilities by Howard Barker, The Dumb Waiter by Harold Pinter, Swallow by Michael Harding, Tanks A Lot (co-written by Hegarty Lovett and Raymond Keane), The Good Thief by Conor McPherson at the Rubicon Theatre and, most recently, GSLPI’s 2009 adaptation of Melville’s Moby Dick.

Conor Lovett trained at L'École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris. He has performed eighteen different Beckett roles in twenty-four productions worldwide, and his work with GSLPI has earned him a reputation as one of the world’s great Beckett actors. He played the role of Lucky in the 2003 revival of The Gate Theatre’s production of Waiting For Godot, directed by Walter Asmus, and performed in What Where and Acts Without Words 1 & 2 at The Barbican in London during The Gate’s London Beckett Festival in 1999. He has performed with Gare St Lazare Players since 1992 under the direction of both Bob Meyer and Judy Hegarty Lovett and in 2004 was again directed by Asmus in Beckett’s A Piece of Monologue in a Gare St Lazare/Rubicon co-production.

Non-Beckett theatre roles include Ferdinand in The Duchess of Malfi, Joey in The Homecoming, Army in Requiem for a Heavyweight, Les in Bouncers, The Torturer in The Possibilities, Gus in The Dumb Waiter, the title role in Orpheus, Ed in Entertaining Mr. Sloane and The Narrator in Fabulous Beast’s The Bull. In 2007 he played David in Lucy Caldwell’s Leaves, a Druid/Royal Court Theatre co-production, which was directed by Tony Award-winner Garry Hynes. In 2007 he also worked with Peter Brook on a workshop towards his recent creation 11 or 12, and in 2009 he starred in GSLPI’s production of Moby Dick.

For the screen Conor co-produced and starred in Shut Eye directed by Jon Tompkins. Other screen appearances include Intermission, Father Ted, L’Entente Cordiale, The Kings of Cork City, Small Engine Repair, Fallout and Moll Flanders.

Website: Performances at Samuel Beckett: Out of the Archive, outofthearchive.com

Also at A Piece of Monologue: