Director Joy Zinoman Brings Beckett and Herself to New York

By Robert Simonson
13 Sep 2012

Ted van Griethuysen

While Zinoman wished the musicians to be comfortable, she also wanted to be certain that the playing space was a "perfect Beckettian void."

"The challenge for me immediately became — I cannot have those musicians onstage with their amplifiers. And musicians have a very different aesthetic. I care about this void." The solution was a scrimmed box that holds the musicians. "So you will see them when they play and you will not see them when they don't."

The cast includes actors well known in the Washington, DC, theatre community: Phillip Goodwin, Ted van Griethuysen and Holly Twyford, along with the voice of Kathleen Chalfant.

Following the Sept. 16 performance, Beckett's niece, Grace Bouton, who attended the Library of Congress event and participated in a pre-show discussion, will join Zinoman on stage for a Q & A. Zinoman knew Bouton from a previous, turbulent encounter with Beckett's work, when a Studio Theatre production of Waiting for Godot got her in hot water with the playwright's estate. In a bit of serendipity, Zinoman's husband discovered that his colleague's son's wife happened to be Bouton.

Zinoman said she "had some intuition that these plays would make a good night." She ticked off a list of aspects that linked Footfalls and Ohio Impromptu in particular. "One's two women, one's two men. There are shades in both. They both have a voice, a person that speaks. Both were written in the same time period. And both are extremely musical. It's not easy material, but it's very rewarding. And I find it very emotional."