Considered one of the premiere actors of his generation, John Hurt has never appeared on a New York stage. That was supposed to change in October when he arrived at Off-Broadway's Minetta Lane Theatre in Samuel Beckett's darkly comic solo, Krapp's Last Tape. However, those plans have been at least temporarily postponed. No word at this point whether or when the show will reach New York, or what will go into the Minetta Lane instead.
Earlier this month, Hurt's manager, John Crosby, confirmed that the actor would be doing a limited run of the Beckett play, though neither he nor Hurt's reps at I.D. Public Relations had further details on the production at that time.
Hurt had appeared in a production of the play for Dublin's Gate Theatre that also played in London and was taped for UK television. However, a fall 2000 tour of the Gate to selected U.S. cities featured David Kelly, who had starred in the play's 1959 Irish premiere.
Krapp's Last Tape, tells of an aging, somewhat seedy man making an audiotape, mulling over the sounds of words, and drawn back into memories of a happier youth. An Off-Broadway mounting in the 1990s starred John Seitz.
Actor Hurt has played his share of tortured — and occasionally torturing — souls, from filmdom's "The Elephant Man" to TV's Caligula in "I, Claudius." He first came to worldwide attention playing Quentin Crisp in "The Naked Civil Servant." In an April 2000 interview with UK's The Guardian, Hurt explained his thoughts on the differences between acting on stage and screen thusly: "A very good difference was put to me by Michael Colgan who is the artistic director of the Gate theatre in Dublin under whose auspices Krapp's Last Tape was done. And he said: `When you've found your theatrical muscle again, then you're really going to begin to enjoy it.' And the thing is, it's rather like two different sports, you use two completely different sets of muscles, and it's the best analogy that I've come across."
Other works by Beckett include Waiting for Godot, Endgame and Happy Days.
— By David Lefkowitz