Beckett in the City: The Women Speak is a sight specific piece presented by Company SJ as a part of the Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival. The entire experience takes place in Halla Banba on Parnell square where a small audience are lead through different rooms in the building to witness four of Becketts short plays. The plays in question are Not I, Footfalls, Rockaby and Come and Go and what ties them together is simply that they concern the voices of woman.
Each piece is performed with clarity and intensity by three actresses, Bríd Ní Neachtain, Michelle Forbes and Joan Davis, with superb results. This is a hauntingly beautiful presentation where you really feel as if you are stepping into a dream where each performance feels like a long forgotten memory brought back to life by the audiences presence. It is directed with expert control and understanding by Sarah Jane Scaife and lighting and costume by both John Comiskey and Sinead Cuthbert adds substantially to the overall esthetic and haunting appeal of the show. No more so in Footfalls where it truly feels as if we are watching a ghost walk through the rooms of Halla Banba forever trapped and wrapped with regret.
The site that Company SJ has chosen to stage these plays complements and enhances each of the four pieces. Halla Banba was for years the National Ballroom, closing down in 1989, and is currently being green lit for a massive renovation. It is a bulding in need of love and attention but its charm and history is still prevalent and as you walk up the main staircase to the sound of an unseen soprano singing somewhere in the building. You feel as if the ghosts of years gone by are watching you and I think Beckett would have approved.
Company SJ have achieved a magnificent feat with Beckett in the City: The Woman Speak and for me it is one of the highlights of this years Fringe Festival. Not only will it appeal to Beckett scholars but is a wonderful introduction into his work for any Beckett novice interested in giving it a try.
Dates: Sep 13–20 @ 13:00, 18:30 & 20:30.
Tickets: €16 / €14 conc.
Duration: 75 mins.
Venue: Halla Banba on Parnell Square (visit the Fringe site here for venue directions)