Directors and writers are always looking for new directions in which to take theatre but sitting in an auditorium with a blindfold on is a new one on me.
Out of Joint, no strangers to pushing boundaries, is taking Samuel Beckett’s All That Fall and turning it into a “sonic experience” which, essentially, means listening to the production rather than seeing it. A radio show, in effect.
Beckett’s one-act radio play has been adapted for live performance and will play in the paint shop of Bristol Old Vic in March before moving to Wilton’s Music Hall, London at the end of that month.
“It is a text written to come out of the dark” said Samuel Beckett of his mysterious, tragicomic first radio play.
In this production, by internationally acclaimed director Max Stafford-Clark, audiences will be blindfolded as the cast move about them in the auditorium, their voices joined by a surround-sound design by Dyfan Jones.
Max said: “Ever since I first read All That Fall, I yearned to direct this hour long play which marries his darkly comic genius to a particularity of social observation and makes for a rich, hilarious and stunning evening.”
All That Fall is one of Beckett’s most accessible and naturalistic plays, and unmistakably Irish – it was inspired by his native Foxrock.
A bawdy and unpredictable tale, it charts the faltering journey of elderly Maddy Rooney as she ventures along a country road to surprise her blind husband at the train station for his birthday treat.
Along the way she is helped and hindered by a series of colourful characters; but when she is united with her husband, she is confronted with a strange and harrowing event that makes him seem a stranger.
First broadcast in 1957, the drama was the first time Beckett centred his work on a female protagonist.
Tony Award-winner Bríd Brennan (Dancing at Lughnasa) will play the unforgettably outspoken and funny Maddy Rooney, plagued with rheumatism and defiant in her small, strained act of love.
The rest of the cast is Killian Burke, Frank Laverty, Gary Lilburn, Ciaran McIntyre.
All That Fall plays at the Bristol Old Vic March 12-16 and Wilton’s Music Hall, East London from March 22-April 9.