By Mark Shenton
16 Dec 2013
In a unique collaboration with Nica Burns and her company Nimax Theatres, all tickets will be sold for the Duchess run at Royal Court prices (£12-£25).
The plays are directed by Beckett’s long-time collaborator, Walter Asmus. The trilogy will subsequently tour to Cambridge's Arts Theatre, Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Salford's Lowry in the fall of 2014, with international dates to be added.
In a press statement, Vicky Featherstone, artistic director of the Royal Court Theatre, commented, "When Not I opened at the Royal Court in May, it was an unforgettable and special experience for all who saw it. On announcing that Lisa Dwan would return, this time to perform a trilogy of Beckett's work, it sold out quickly once again. It is heartening to see there is such a demand for this work. In a visionary move and one which reminds us there is passion and integrity in our West End, Nica Burns and Nimax are opening up this extraordinary piece of theatre to a wider audience. That they are doing this and keeping tickets at Royal Court prices for a limited residency, makes me deeply proud and inspired to be in partnership with them. Following this we will tour round the country to three leading regional theatres in the autumn."
Nica Burns, chief executive of Nimax Theatres, added, "I'm delighted to enable all the audiences who could not get tickets at the Royal Court to experience Lisa Dwan’s outstanding performance of these wonderful Beckett short plays. The delightfully intimate and atmospheric Duchess Theatre could not be a more perfect space to see the plays in the West End ."
According to press materials, Not I is an intense monologue, set in a pitch-black space lit by a single beam of light. A disembodied female mouth floats eight feet above the stage and delivers a stream of consciousness, spoken, as Beckett directed, at the speed of thought. Lisa Dwan was tutored in the role by Billie Whitelaw, who originally performed the part at its 1973 UK premiere and was personally coached for the part by Beckett himself.
Rockaby is probably the most famous of Beckett's last works. It explores loneliness and features a prematurely old woman dressed in an evening gown, sitting on a wooden rocking chair that appears to rock of its own accord. Rockaby was first performed in New York in 1981 starring Billie Whitelaw and then at the National Theatre in 1982.
Footfalls features the distant voice of "Mother" and May who paces back and forth like a metronome, on a bare strip of floor. Footfalls was first performed by Billie Whitelaw, for whom the piece had been written, at the Royal Court as part of the Samuel Beckett Festival in 1976, directed by Beckett himself.
Dwan has been performing Beckett since 2005. She first performed Not I at Battersea Arts Centre directed by Natalie Abrahami before being directed by Billie Whitelaw at the SouthBank Centre in 2009. She has also worked extensively in theatre, film and television both internationally and in her native Ireland. She adapted, produced and performed the critically acclaimed one-woman play Beside the Sea at the Southbank Centre and on tour and starred in Goran Bregović’s new music drama, Margot, Diary Of An Unhappy Queen at the Barbican. She most recently performed in Ramin Gray’s production of Illusions by Ivan Viripaev at the Bush Theatre.
Walter Asmus, who directs, was Beckett's long-time friend and collaborator, assisting him on many of his productions at the Schiller Theatre in Berlin and for TV in Stuttgart. His production of Waiting for Godot toured extensively internationally.
Not I/Footfalls/Rockaby is a co-production between the Royal Court Theatre and Mighty Mouth Ltd., in association with Cusack Projects Ltd.
To book tickets, contact the Royal Court box office on 020 7565 5000 or visit www.royalcourttheatre.com.