Review: Theatre: Krapp's Last Tape Crucible, Sheffield 32/40

Guardian (UK) |

The great irony of going to see Richard Wilson in Krapp's Last Tape is that you almost can't see him at all. Alex Lowde's architectural design keeps the actor entirely enclosed within a dingy, slowly revolving cabin, whose begrimed windows and overripe atmosphere of old bananas suggests a zoo enclosure where one has to squint for a glimpse of a nocturnal primate going about its business. Though eye strain becomes a severe possibility, the genius of Polly Findlay's production is to recognise that Beckett's 1958 play is not so much a visual event as one of the earliest examples of a sound installation. As the glass cocoon has potential to render Wilson inaudible as well as invisible, Krapp's dialogue with his tape recorder is relayed through an array of loudspeakers. The Tannoy-like quality transforms the timbre of Wilson's voice into an electronically-treated effect: the lugubrious manner in which he lingers over the word "spool" sounds discomfortingly salacious. The concept serves as a reminder that the play was written in Paris around the same time that avant garde composers such as Karlheinz Stockhausen and Iannis Xenakis instigated experiments with electroacoustic composition and musique concrete. Beckett's opening stage direction specifies that the action is set in "a late evening in the future". Whose future? Krapp's? Beckett's? Our own? Findlay's production recognises that Krapp's Last Tape is not just a retrospective period-piece about an old man fiddling with an antediluvian tape machine, but a verbal tone poem delivered by someone who, for all his intransigence, has proved capable of harnessing the latest technology. Krapp's Last Tweet, perhaps. Alfred Hickling Until 19 July. Box office: 0114-249 6000.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

Comments

Emerging Growth

GSV Capital Corp

GSV Capital Corp is an externally managed, non-diversified closed-end management investment company. The Company has elected to be treated as a business development company.

Private Markets

Snapwire

A peer-to-Peer authentic photo marketplace disrupting the $10B commercial photography industry.

XY Find It

Founded by serial entrepreneur Arie Trouw, XY Findables follows a single guiding principle: customers should never lose anything important again. With over 50,000 users around the world, more than 100,000…