According to The Georgetowner, Scena Theatre is going back to their roots with their new staging of “The Beckett Trio,” three short plays by Irish playwright Samuel Beckett, running through April 8, 2018 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, Lab Theatre I. The write-up in the Georgetowner, featuring an interview of Artistic Director Robert McNamara, provides insight into the artistic development and process going on at Scena.
The background that the article above provides is not present at all when going to see The Beckett Trio. Absent context or the most cursory of welcomes to the theater, the audience is abruptly immersed into the manic metronome spiral of Beckett’s plays –two of which are focused on Beckett’s mother’s mental illness. Nanna Ingvarsson is a gifted actress who commands the stage with her voice and presence, but her considerable talents have a hard time drawing the audience in completely for the 55-minute run.
The beautiful, haunting imagery and repetition prevalent through all three pieces, especially Rockaby, are sometimes lost in the delivery– a staccato rhythm that serves well to highlight the frenzy and delusion of mental illness.
Footfalls (1975), the leading play, has Ms. Ingvarsson as a wraith, possessed by time and rhythm, as her aging mother seems to sap all the life out of her body. Not I (1972), delivered by a disembodied mouth in the center of the stage with stunning speed and a cadence that at times feels like that of a different language altogether, is both delightful and confusing. Sometimes the words coming out of the mouth are so fast as to blur the meaning. It’s hard to tell whether this is a stage direction or not, but the effect is bothersome at times. Finally, Rockaby (1981) ties the two other plays together – a clever arrangement of works that, while not exactly chronological, provides closure to the evening.
If you go:
WHAT: Scena Theatre’s “The Beckett Trio” by Samuel Beckett
WHERE: Lab I Theater at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H Street NE
WHEN: Through April 8, 2018. For tickets and showtimes, click here.