If I take a moment to glance over my shoulder and follow my experiences with theatre literature down memory lane, there are two very clear milestones. Both, incidentally, did not take place within the theatre itself yet did, ultimately, lead me to it.
My first was, perhaps unsurprisingly, the one that got me interested in it all at the first place. I was introduced to Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V when I was around 12 years old and it completely altered my perception of what Shakespeare was or could be. Its grit and stark realism astounded me and consequently led to me to study Drama at school.
The second was reading Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot during first year Text and Context at University. Its beauty and wonder changed the way I looked at theatre forever and maybe, perhaps, the world.
A revisit to Beckett is an opportunity rarely passed and tonight was to be no exception, especially with the critically acclaimed Gare St Lazare at the helm.
Based on novels written by Beckett, Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnamable are all performed by the staggering Conor Lovett for a marathon three hours at the Traverse Theatre.
The themes are all very familiar for those who know Beckett’s work. Life, death, reality and truth are all bundled into these compelling three pieces that slip in and out of stories that appear to be about both everything and nothing.
It’s not always easy to follow Beckett in one sitting and it is by no means light viewing, but even if you only take a little from it you have taken a lot.
Every word has been carefully chosen and through the magical delivery of Conor Lovett, who puts in possibly the finest performance I have ever seen, the heart of its meaning sets your soul alight even if you do not understand why.
There’s nothing flashy here. No giant sets. No fancy lighting. Just a man with a story to share. A man with passion and love. Once you have seen this you will never go back. You will not want anyone but Gare St Lazare to do Beckett again.
Show played Friday 21 and Saturday 22 January, 2010