My work this year has already taken me to lots of places I didn’t know, or didn’t know well, and now back to Northern Ireland to the beautiful Fermanagh Lakelands for this new festival that celebrates Samuel Beckett’s work, inspirations, and dark humour.
The lovely island town of Enniskillen in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland is gearing up to host the first annual Samuel Beckett Festival, 23-27 August. The inaugural festival is going toe to toe with the Edinburgh colossus, with a programme of world and UK premieres that spans international theatre, music, visual arts, comedy and talks, alongside Beckett haircuts, cocktails and shopwindows. www.happy-days-enniskillen.com
Antony Gormley’s “Tree for Waiting for Godot”, a stainless steel tree made in 37 separate pieces, was unveiled last week in the Grand Yard at Castle Coole, where it is being “seasoned” in advance of a future festival production of the play in 2014.
(The commission for Gormley’s Tree was inspired by Beckett’s commissioning of his friend Giacometti to create The Tree for his stage set in 1961)
In another UK first (and quite possibly last, see below), veteran US conceptual artist Joseph Kosuth will be showing his neon text homage to Beckett; “Texts (waiting for-) for nothing” Samuel Beckett, in Play. Kosuth, who has recently moved his studio to London from Berlin, told the Impartial Reporter that the festival might be the last showing for the piece.
Robert Wilson might have offended a few with his comments about English theatre in his interview with The Times last week, but Beckett would have been amused at the writer’s mishearing 50 for 15 minutes as Wilson described the length of silence in Krapp’s Last Tape (since corrected online). Silent or not, it’s a opportunity to see Wilson directing himself in a UK premiere that is also part of the London 2012 Festival.
I’m looking forward to taking to my rocking chair in Pan Pan Theatre’s special listening chamber to experience their acclaimed production of All That Fall, seen briefly in Dublin last year; and to Theatre Clastic’s puppet interpretation of Beckett’s Act Without Words 1.
Music-wise, and with Faber’s new The Collected Poems of Samuel Beckett hot off the press (Edited by Seán Lawlor and John Pilling. Faber and Faber), I love the idea of Sophie Daneman’s programme of songs by some of Beckett’s favourite composers, selected also because they are by poets who influenced Beckett: Schubert/Goethe; Debussy/Verlaine; Poulence/Appolinaire etc.
Also super-keen to see Gavin Bryars and Ensemble’s performance of The Sinking of the Titanic and The Beckett Songbook, another London 2012 Festival event:
And the writers? So many to choose from in the programme, but Will Self’s just published a new novel, and I’m interested to hear what he has to say about Beckett; Alice Oswald because I was so wowed at her performance at the Hay-on-Wye festival earlier this year and I can’t wait to hear her read her poetry again; and Raja Shehadeh in conversation with Paul Farley about the relationship between walking and landscape because walking is one of my big loves.