Beckett in the City: The Women Speak – Review – Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival


Beckett in the City: The Women Speak. Footfalls, Rockaby, Not I and Come and Go by Samuel Beckett

This is a series of short plays by Beckett all featuring women as the main protagonist of the piece. They are some of Beckett’s better known short works and are regularly performed on stage. This is a production that focuses on atmosphere and lighting, while keeping the words of the master at its heart. ‘Not I’ shows only a female mouth floating in space, with a rambling monologue that is a short, sharp blast. Footfalls has a woman slowly pacing the floor and talking to her mother. Rockaby is an image of a woman looking out a window and slowly rocking while a pre-recorded voice talks of her life. The final play, Come and Go, is an extremely stylish short for three women, that repeats in a loop with similar style and motion.

Company SJ returns to the Fringe festival with another site specific blast of Beckett. They’ve taken another old, dilapidated building in the form of the Halla Banba on Parnell square. As you enter the building, one of the most striking things is the series of props being used as temporary support for the ceiling! The building has seen better days, but the company member that welcomed us to the venue said that the building will soon be renovated to be part of a new cultural quarter in Dublin, and will be used as a Library. For the moment, it is a dormant building of high ceilings and beautiful stair, with the feel of an old run down institution.

The audience is led between the various spaces as each performance takes place in a different room. There is an air of expectation, as if something solemn is taking place, and that we are seeing spirits trapped inside this old space, away from the bustling world outside the doors. Beckett shorts are well known for their intense use of language with long monologues, so the viewer has to work to keep pace with the flow of words. As you would expect, they are rewarding and complex pieces. The lighting is one of the more striking things, and also the use of projections onto the walls of the building that are viewed as you pass between the rooms. The performances are varied, with one piece being a crash of words and the next slow and thoughtful. This is a subtle and rich show that could take repeated viewing, and a treat for any Beckett fan.

Beckett in the City: The Women Speak. Footfalls, Rockaby, Not I and Come and Go by Samuel Beckett

For full information on Company SJ, visit their website here.

Dates Sep 13–20 @ 13:00, 18:30 & 20:30.
Other performances Sep 11 @ 13:00.
Tickets €16 / €14 conc.
Duration 75 mins.
Halla Banba on Parnell Square


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