Photo – Ros Kavanagh
Pan Pan Theatre (Ireland) presents its interpretation of Samuel Beckett’s All That Fall as directed by Gavin Quinn at the Brisbane Powerhouse’s World Theatre Festival. It’s a unique opportunity for theatre goers who desire to experience theatre authentically in its many genres and guises. Those who know of and love Beckett’s body of work will relish this 21st century incarnation of one of his radio plays.
In my early 20’s, while at university, I remember doing a research assignment on Samuel Beckett and the Theatre of the Absurd. I discovered recordings at the State Library of a few of his radio plays. Back then I didn’t connect at all with his style or the genre, I never quite understood what the point of his theatre was. I know I didn’t get more than 10mins in to listening to the State Library radio recording. However, in time, I returned to his work and the genre and I now have a genuine interest and like for what lies within the layers of text, prose, theatrical images, sounds, characters etc, and have fully allowed myself to open up to this kind of theatre.
From the moment you step into the theatrical space for All That Fall, the performance is in motion. The audience is part of the stage, what you observe as you look around are your fellow voyeurs merging with the work, you are inside the art, you comprise one of the many components within the visual landscape from the very beginning. M.D.F rocking chairs are randomly organized upon the carpeted flooring that is akin to the 2D street and cityscape mats my young son uses during his play. A wall of perfectly spaced lighting cans brightly shine in front of us and overhead, light bulbs dangle at varying lengths and look like little round stars. Some people rock in their chairs while others are still waiting for the cue that will tell us the play has ‘officially’ started.
Then the aural buffet of Beckett’s radio play begins. We follow the audio journey of Mrs Rooney as she encounters her fellow community members and eventually her husband. The characters assists and don’t assist as she makes her way through each moment. The lighting alters and just when you get accustomed to the visual action it changes again. You rely on your interpretation of sound to find your bearings in the dark as Mrs Rooney’s story repetitively and rhythmically click, clack, scrapes step by step through each relationship. The mundane conversations of the everyday become fascinating and the grunts and groans of life are completely open to the limits of your own imagination.
All That Fall is all that one can hope to experience aesthetically when allowing the rich human-filled void of a Beckett work to wash over you. The play has been brought to life with care and a true affinity by Pan Pan Theatre and director Gavin Quinn for Samuel Beckett’s unique work. All That Fall breathes heavily into the ears of its audience and will resonate with you long after you have left the theatre.
Brisbane Powerhouse presents
All That Fall
Pan Pan Theatre
Venue: Powerhouse Theatre | Brisbane Powerhouse
Dates: 11 – 16 February 2014
Tickets: $45 – $40
Part of WTF 2014