Michael Gambon Opens in Beckett's EH JOE June 30

News   Michael Gambon Opens in Beckett's EH JOE June 30 Michael Gambon opens June 30 at the West End’s Duke of York’s Theatre with the world premiere stage production — first seen at the Gate Theatre Dublin — of Beckett’s television play EH JOE.
Michael Gambon will return to the stage in EH JOE in London's West End.
Michael Gambon will return to the stage in EH JOE in London's West End.

The 30-minute production, helmed by Atom Egoyan, began previews June 27.

Written in 1965, the play was broadcast by the BBC in 1966 and then received its stage world premiere at this year’s Beckett Festival at the Gate Theatre Dublin.

According to production notes, "Joe sits in his room sealed off from the world. A voice nags him to examine the shards of a life lived roughly. As Joe wordlessly contemplates the voice's probing statements, an all-seeing camera captures the entire wave of human emotion. The gigantic visual image of Joe's face and the voice's spoken word entwine together in a mesmerizing farewell to life."

Providing the voice to which Gambon's face silently and expressively reacts is Penelope Wilton, who appeared in the Pinter Festivals at both the Gate Theatre Dublin and at New York’s Lincoln Center. Wilton won the Irish Theatre Award for Best Actress for her performance in Pinter’s A Kind of Alaska. Other stage credits include the 1978 premiere of Pinter’s Betrayal (also with Gambon), Friel’s Afterplay, The Philanthropist, West of Suez and The Seagull for the RSC.

Egyptian-born director Atom Egoyan is best known as a film director. His latest screen work, “Where the Truth Lies,” received its premiere at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, and his stage production of Wagner’s Die Walkure will be mounted for the second time by the Canadian Opera Company in 2006. Gambon’s last appearance on the West End stage, in 2004, was in Beckett’s Endgame, in which he starred with Lee Evans. It’s thought that that production, directed by Matthew Warchus, and EH JOE may make a double transfer to New York at the end of the year.

Other stage credits for Gambon include Cressida and The Caretaker, also in the West End, and more recently Falstaff in Nicholas Hytner’s production of Henry IV, Parts I and II.

For more on EH JOE, which will be performed twice nightly, call (0)870 060 6623.