Seeing the fruit of two Irish theatre companies’ development efforts, we decided to engage in a year-long process adapting a prose piece by Samuel Beckett to the stage. However, we ran into a road block – (The Saga of the Estate) – whether permanent or temporary is still TBD.
The Estate’s issue(s) with prose adaptations are unclear but digesting the Nobel Laureate’s prose can be difficult – unlike his short, later plays which rely on ‘atmospherics’, the senses, more than cognition or reasoning for effect. Edward Albee well summed up a successful Beckett staging: stand in the back of house, eyes closed, and listen to the balance of sound and silence. More could be said but therein lies the essence of Samuel Beckett.
We have chosen Beckett’s Enough, a 1-woman (presumably) prose piece in which SHE speaks of a life-long relationship, walking the earth, hand-in-hand …
Enough has been adapted to stage at least twice – first, during Beckett’s lifetime, directed by his favorite U.S. director, Alan Schneider, with Billie Whitelaw, Sam’s so-called muse, as the speaker. It was a reading, no set or costume, and was the first piece in a triple-bill of Enough, Footfalls and Rockaby. It was again adapted for stage in the early 2000’s by Gare St. Lazare Players of Ireland. That company no longer lists it in their repertoire.
For our effort, the actress both integral to the process and who will perform the piece in workshops is Jordan Stiles (pictured above) who played ‘Mother’ in Beckett’s Footfalls, as well as a wide range of other roles for Black Mirror and in college productions.
The plan: 1) slow, thoughtful development focused on that which makes plays such as Krapp’s Last Tape, Footfalls and Rockaby so moving; 2) workshop the piece multiple times; 3) film the end result; and 4) submit it to the Estate for its ultimate thumbs up or down. No paid performances will be held unless / until the Estate allows it.
Schedule and Results
1st meeting (TBD): Agenda: 1) Text exploration; 2) Physical exercises – posture, movement, strength, grace; 3) Mechanics of process; 4) assignments; and, 5) run-thru, paras 1 and 2 of text, first for expression, then for initial exploration of blocking; 6) de-brief and notes.
Initial Views: 1) The Void; 2) The Prison Camp; 3) The Graveside Flag; 4) Love Now Gone