The Edinburgh International Festival 2013 celebrates Samuel Beckett
The strand's highlight is Eh Joe starring Michael Gambon and directed by Atom Egoyan
Beckett at the Festival is a major programme of the Irish author’s TV, radio and fiction works adapted for the stage. Inevitably, given the scale of the project and the affection Beckett commands in theatre, there are impressive names in the lineup – and the companies behind the productions (Gate Theatre, Dublin and Pan Pan Theatre) have established themselves as being vibrant bearers of Beckett’s flame.
Eh Joe is perhaps the biggest pull: starring Michael Gambon (The King’s Speech) as the man in a dressing gown facing his past alone. Directed by Atom Egoyan – better known for his films which owe a great deal to Beckett’s absurdism – Eh Joe was originally a TV play but shares the unflinching moral intensity of Krapp’s Last Tape.
I’ll Go On, presented by Gate Theatre, adapts extracts from Beckett’s trilogy. These novels share the play’s love of language: more than just recitations of key monologues, Barry McGovern’s performance will bring a new life to some of the most profound meditations on the human condition of the 20th century.
Far from paying homage to the words, Pan Pan Theatre promise to add new dimensions to the radio play Embers by adding sculptures from Andrew Clancey as an integral part of the production: their All That Fall is on the boundary between theatre and sound art.
The vision of Beckett emerging from this programme is not unfamiliar but it reveals how the theatrical potential of language was always in his mind, whatever medium he was working in.
Various venues, 473 2000, Fri 23 Aug–Sat 31 Aug, £8–£20.