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Beyond Godot

The Gare St. Lazare Players Adapt Beckett's Prose for the Stage

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WHEN I FIRST SAW the work of Ireland's Gare St. Lazare Players, I was already nursing a bit of an obsession with Samuel Beckett. That obsession was catapulted to new and somewhat embarrassing heights after seeing Conor Lovett perform his one-man theatrical adaptation of Beckett's novel Molloy in a tiny black box theater in New York. To see Lovett in the role of one of Beckett's most infamous loners is to see an actor take on text at its most cerebral and manage to ground it, energize it, and find humor in it in both bold and extremely nuanced ways. 

The Gare St. Lazare Players Ireland are the brainchild of Lovett (the primary actor in the company) and Judy Hegarty Lovett (the primary director). Together they've developed a repertoire that includes 17 of Beckett's works, many of which are the first-ever theatrical adaptations of his body of prose. Over the course of five nights at TBA, Conor and Judy will present four of those 17 works.

First Love, a staged adaptation of one of Beckett's earliest short stories, will run four nights at BodyVox Dance Center. Then, for one night only at Washington High School, Conor will perform The Beckett Trilogy: Molloy, Malone Dies, and The Unnamable, an adaptation of three of Beckett's most famous novels.

The Gare St. Lazare Players Ireland are an obvious must-see for Beckett fans, but to those who might have doubts about a night of heady, existential theater, Lovett had this to say: "Beckett balances tragedy and comedy in a way that very few other experiences can offer today.  If you [don't] know Beckett's non-theatre writings already, you may well be surprised by how funny, how compassionate, and how simply beautiful his words can be. We have a lot of experience and we try not to come between you and Beckett, so give it a try."

First Love, BodyVox Dance Center, 1201 NW 17th, Fri Sept 10-Mon Sept 13, 8:30 pm, $20-25; The Beckett Trilogy, Washington High School, 531 SE 14th, Tues Sept 14, 6 pm, $20-25

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