Bend it like Beckett

Gerard Murphy stars in Krapp's Last Tape.
Gerard Murphy stars in Krapp's Last Tape.
Share this article

FOR fans of Samuel Beckett there’s a real treat in store down Gorbals way.

The Citizens Theatre is producing two of the writer’s miniature plays with Krapp’s Last Tape and Footfalls performing from May 30.

In the first performance, a veteran of the Citz’ boards, Gerard Murphy, revisits the southside theatre to star in Becket’s one-man, one-act Krapp’s Last Tape.

The lonely Krapp is celebrating his 69th birthday, alone, as usual.

And, as usual, he has gotten into the habit of making a tape of his thoughts.

This year, he pulls out a tape he made on his 39th birthday in which he reflects on a one he made in his 20s.

He has nothing good to say about his younger self on his 39th birthday tape, but affirms that he will improve in the forthcoming years.

He aspires to literary greatness, though his published work does not move quickly off the bookshelves.

By the time he creates his last tape, he has nothing good to say about the man he has become.

There is ambiguity as to whether his last tape is the final one or if it is merely the most recent.

There is a sense that it is the former as his life, like his last tape, winds down to its conclusion.

Next up is a play Becket wrote for British actress Billie Whitelaw, Footfalls.

Here, the principal role of May — and the only person seen on stage — is taken by Kathryn Howden, herself no stranger to Glasgow stages.

A woman paces the stage in conversation with her mother — who is represented only by an off-stage voice.

The woman, May, asks her mother repeatedly if she is in need of any assistance — to which her mother always replies: “Yes, but it is too soon”.

What the audience (and, in fact, Billie Whitelaw) questions is whether May is really alive or is she a ghost.

All may be revealed on the night.

Krapp’s Last Tape and Footfalls are on at the Citizens Theatre from Wednesday, May 30 until Saturday, June 9.