Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Samuel Beckett Cabaret with Rick Roemer, Fourthworld Theatre Projects, FronteraFest , January 19 - 30

Rick Roemer in Krapp's Last Tape by Samuel Beckett

With no particular fanfare, Rick Roemer is offering you the chance to understand the stretch and diversity of the art of the professional actor. But just for a brief shining moment, so check your agenda.

Roemer appears in these stark pieces by Samuel Beckett this afternoon, Tuesday evening the 25th and Sunday afternoon the 30th. As the complement, you can appreciate his appearance as the haughty, comic Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest four evenings a week at the Austin Playhouse, until February 20.

His colleague at Southwestern University in Georgetown Jared J. Stein directs Roemer in these three short pieces by Beckett, collected under the ironic banner title of A Samuel Beckett Cabaret. For the FronteraFest 2011 Long Fringe the production is sponsored by "Fourthworld Theatre Projects" and an informal company assembled from theatre students at Southwestern, including Becca Plunkett, Edward Coles, Kinsey Keck, Matthew A. Harper and others.

Samuel Beckett's 1949 piece Waiting for Godot is the most familiar of his texts, with the 1956 Endgame probably in second place. Notable productions of those longer pieces appeared in the Austin area over the last year -- a cheerfully comic version of Godot at the Sam Bass Community Theatre in Round Rock , a Classic Theatre production of Godot that won three of San Antonio's ATAC Globe awards, and a memorable staging of Endgame by the Palindrome Theatre Company at the Larry L. King Theatre of Austin Playhouse.

Beckett wrote intermittently for the theatre for 25 years after Endgame. His pieces became briefer, more concentrated and more engimatic. Of the 29 shorter theatre pieces collected in the Grove Press edition , the last ones are the shortest and most dense. Catastrophe from 1982, dedicated to Czech writer and political resistance leader Vaclav Havel, is only four pages long. Ohio Impromptu, first produced at Ohio State University in 1981 is three and a half pages and features a character reading aloud to a silent listener. In this Beckett cabaret, those pieces bracket Krapp's Last Tape from 1958, in which Roemer, the solo performer, has lengthy silent intervals of pantomime, including an exquisite sequence with bananas -- worthy of the best of Buster Keaton -- and interacts with his own insufferable self of 30 years earlier via a tape recording.

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