|The inimitable Gambon plays Krapp|
The one-act minimalistic play, written by Samuel Beckett, whose Waiting for Godot we saw in June last year and hugely enjoyed (Ian McKellen as Estragon and Patrick Stewart as Vladimir), is about the eponymous character's birthday ritual of recording a tape summarising his past year. Michael Gambon, one of my favourite actors (have you watched The Singing Detective?), plays Krapp and we could not think of a better person to fill the role. (As a side note, Harold Pinter was one of Gambon's predecessors.)
We lay there without moving. But under us all moved, and moved us, gently, up and down, and from side to side.
I said again I thought it was hopeless and no good going on, and she agreed, without opening her eyes. (Pause.) I asked her to look at me and after a few moments--(pause)--after a few moments she did, but the eyes just slits, because of the glare. I bent over her to get them in the shadow and they opened. (Pause. Low.) Let me in. (Pause.) We drifted in among the flags and stuck. The way they went down, sighing, before the stem! (Pause.) I lay down across her with my face in her breasts and my hand on her. We lay there without moving. But under us all moved, and moved us, gently, up and down, and from side to side.
Perhaps my best years are gone. When there was a chance of happiness. But I wouldn't want them back. Not with the fire in me now. No, I wouldn't want them back.While this plays, however, the older Krapp (the excellent Gambon) looks at the reels with incredulity and utter sadness. And we understand that he can hardly believe that he was ever so young and pompous. It is clear that he would like to rewind his life to have his 'best years' back. We know he can't.
A shorter version of this review appears here.