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Showing posts from November, 2018

Waiting for Godot

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photo by Matthew Thompson
Waiting for Godot is flatly the  most important play of the 20th century (the reader will remember that the comparable monuments of modern drama were written at the end of the 19th century). Samuel Beckett’s extended metaphor, often thought abstruse, has been more victimized by wayward criticism than any other modern drama. However, Edward Albee said to me when we discussed it: “If Waiting for Godot had been set in a living room, nobody would have had any trouble with it. It's this fucking blasted heath that got in everybody's way. They see a strange setting, they see something that is not naturalistic, automatically the warning flags go up. They say ‘I'm not going to be able to understand this.’ And therefore, they can't understand it, because they're determined they're not going to.” But more about the setting later.
Indeed, Waiting for Godot is the only play I know in which the characters tell us their motivation so explicitly: “It’s …

Swansong

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photo: Robert Catto
Swansong is an 80-minute monologue by Conor McDermottroe presented by L. Wolf Productions as part of the United Solo Theatre Festival. It’s a study of a criminal - a punk from the word go - presented with such insight that we leave the theater simultaneously appalled by the character and sympathetic to him. This is what it means to hold the mirror up to nature, non-judgmental and charitable.
Occi, as he is called, tells us about his life, starting with his habit of robbing the rich boys as a young hooligan. In the forefront of his bio is his mother, an alcoholic. “It wasn’t my fault she went back on it,” he tells us in one of the many glimpses we get of his inner life. We learn about his assaulting a civil servant and his ensuant psychiatric hospitalization, during which he was “awfully worried about Mammy.” After her death, Occi tells us “She’s with me all the time, in my sleep and all.” He takes work on a fishing trawler, on which he assaults his best mate for call…