Beckett double bill to be staged at The Citz
Director Dominic Hill discusses his productions of Krapp's Last Tape and Footfalls
Following on from the success of his productions of Harold Pinter’s Betrayal and Shakespeare’s King Lear, Dominic Hill concludes his inaugural season at Glasgow’s Citizens Theatre with a double bill of short plays by the great, Irish dramatist Samuel Beckett. In bringing together Krapp’s Last Tape and Footfalls, Hill is staging one of Beckett’s best-known plays alongside a neglected classic.
Krapp’s Last Tape, which premiered in 1958, is a bleakly humorous piece. It finds an old man (the titular Krapp) at the end of his life, listening to a recording of his younger self, and recording his final, annual tape on an old reel-to-reel tape machine. In Hill’s production, it will be performed by Northern Irish actor Gerard Murphy; who famously played Macbeth, opposite David Hayman’s Lady M, at the Citz back in 1979.
Footfalls (1976) was written for celebrated actress Billie Whitelaw. In the play we see and hear a sleepless, middle-aged woman, May (played in Hill’s production by Kathryn Howden), pacing a hallway. She speaks with her elderly, declining mother (voiced at the Citz by Kay Gallie), who lies, unseen, in a bedroom. Like so much of Beckett’s oeuvre, it is a deeply poetic, precisely structured work, which alights movingly on matters of memory and death.
‘One of the things I love about Beckett,’ says Hill, ‘is that he is a very visual writer … For him the image is usually the starting point. As a director, I really respond to that.
‘These two plays encapsulate very well Beckett’s tendency to explore a theatrical conceit, not for too long, but in a way which is profoundly affecting and haunting.’
Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, Wed 30 May–Sat 9 Jun.