Two Beckett Monologues

 

Half Moon Theatre, Cork

The EndThe CalmativeThe End

For this monologue on a vagrant’s resilient odyssey Lovett remains physically and almost totally in one place yet seems in constant movement, his body leaning forward or back, his head turning sideways, his arms and hands articulate as they express a commentary on a text which, infused with the amiable logic of the alienated, has reminiscences of Flann O’Brien. Written in 1946 and collected in Stories and Texts for Nothing, both pieces are meditations on solitariness, of adapting to what is predicted and of looking back, as if clinically researching that adaptation.

In The Endthe theme is an examination of the likeness, that is the simulacrum, of a life and the conundrum of its closure. In The Calmative(here receiving its stage premiere) the close has been achieved; this is darker, sadder and more intense although Lovett’s fluid and well-projected voice never blunts the incisions of the prose even as he moves companionably among the audience. As usual with Beckett the obligation is to seek interpretation beyond the prose and beyond the masterful pauses, but director Judy Hegarty Lovett doesn’t make a fuss about this. Instead there is a background of voluptuous scarlet velvet drapery, tasselled and immense, against which a shredding bench and a solitary human voice gather us into this passing hour as if life were a dream or a myth of one’s own making. At The Project Arts Centre, Dublin April 12-17