Entertainment & Arts

Beckett festival to feature play in the dark

The line-up includes Berliner Ensemble's Waiting for Godot Image copyright MOnika Rittershaus
Image caption The line-up includes Berliner Ensemble's Waiting for Godot

A play performed in complete darkness is among this year's line up for a summer festival celebrating writer Samuel Beckett.

Other highlights include a stage version of Hancock's Half Hour and the Berliner Ensemble's Waiting for Godot.

The annual event in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, is now in its fourth year.

It boasts performances in multiple locations, including the school where Beckett was a pupil in the early 1920s.

The lights will be turned out for All That Fall, in a staging by former Royal Court artistic director Max Stafford-Clark.

He said: "I was asked for my vision for the play and my response was that there is absolutely no vision at all - the whole play takes place in the dark."

The drama, co-produced with the Out of Joint Theatre Company, will star Irish actress Rosaleen Linehan.

"It will be as dark as we can make it, the audience won't be invited to see anything," Stafford-Clark told the BBC. "It will be a bit spooky I imagine but that's the effect that Beckett wanted."

All That Fall was previously staged in London in 2012 with a cast including Dame Eileen Atkins and Michael Gambon.

The radio play, first broadcast in 1957, tells of an elderly woman's journey to a railway station to meet her blind husband.

Image copyright John Minihan/BBC
Image caption Tony Hancock (right) is said to be a 'perfect' fit for a festival dedicated to Samuel Beckett (left)

The Hancock play is based on several "lost" radio scripts - by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson - which were revived on Radio 4 last year.

"Hancock is the perfect Beckett character. He is the small man shaking his fist as a universe that doesn't care," said Drop The Dead Donkey star Neil Pearson, who will direct the show.

"I think we are habitually rather too po-faced about Beckett. He's a funny writer. I don't know whether he knew of Hancock but I'm pretty sure he would have approved of the uncaring way the world treats him."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Sophie Hunter, who recently married Benedict Cumberbatch, will direct Benjamin Britten's last work

Theatre director Sophie Hunter - who recently married Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch - is putting on Benjamin Britten's Phaedra - the composer's final work - inside the ruined Necarne Castle.

She said her concept was to create "an intimate experience in an epic space".

"At the heart of it is the story of a woman who has taken in poison and is dying over 15 minutes - the music mimics the effect of the poison that is coursing through her veins."

The Enniskillen International Beckett Festival, Happy Days, will take place over two long weekends, between 23 July and 3 August 2015.

The full line-up is on the Happy Days website.

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