The Royal Court Theatre and Mighty Mouth
Not I, Footfalls, Rockaby
By Samuel Beckett
9 - 18 January 2014
Jerwood Theatre Downstairs
Tickets: £25, £20, £12 (Mondays all seats £10 on the day)
Tickets are still available in advance for the West End run at the Duchess Theatre. Click here to book.
Not I at the Royal Court is sold out but the show transfers to the Duchess Theatre, at Royal Court prices, from 3 February. Click here to book.
Lisa Dwan returns to the Royal Court Theatre to perform a one-woman Samuel Beckett trilogy after a critically acclaimed sell-out run of his landmark one–woman piece Not I, performed at the Royal Court forty years after the theatre held its UK premiere.
Lisa will perform Not I alongside two other Beckett classics Footfalls and Rockaby, directed by Walter Asmus.
Beckett’s Not I is an intense monologue, set in a pitch-black space lit by a single beam of light. A disembodied female mouth floats eight feet above the stage and delivers a stream of consciousness, spoken, as Beckett directed, at the speed of thought. Lisa Dwan was tutored in the role by Billie Whitelaw, who originally performed the part at its 1973 UK premiere and was personally coached for the part by Beckett himself.
Rockaby is probably the most famous of Beckett’s last works. It explores loneliness and features a prematurely old woman dressed in an evening gown, sitting on a wooden rocking chair that appears to rock of its own accord. Rockaby was first performed in New York in 1981 starring Billie Whitelaw and then at the National Theatre in 1982.
Footfalls features May, wrapped in tatters, pacing back and forth like a metronome, on a strip of bare landing outside her dying mother’s room. Footfalls was first performed by Billie Whitelaw, for whom the piece had been written, at the Royal Court Theatre as part of the Samuel Beckett Festival, in 1976 directed by Beckett himself.
Lisa Dwan has worked extensively in theatre, film and television both internationally and in her native Ireland. Film credits include; Oliver Twist and John Boorman’s Tailor of Panama and Bhopal – A Prayer for Rain due for release this year. In 2012, she adapted, produced and performed the critically acclaimed one woman play Beside the Sea at the South Bank Centre and on tour and starred in Goran Bregović’s new music drama, Margot, Diary Of An Unhappy Queen at the Barbican. She most recently performed in Ramin Gray’s production of Illusions by Ivan Viripaev at the Bush Theatre.
Walter Asmus directs. He was Beckett’s long-time friend and collaborator, assisting him on many of his productions at the Schiller Theatre in Berlin and for TV in Stuttgart. His production of Waiting for Godot, which toured extensively internationally, including in 2008 a one-night-only tour of the 32 counties of Ireland, was widely described as the ‘definitive production’.
£25, £20, £12
Running time:1 hour
Not I/Footfalls/Rockaby will tour International festivals and theatres in 2014
Image Credit: Maurice Piper
Select a Date
Dates in January
|Thu 9 Jan||8:00pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||*Tickets for the West End run still available*|
|Fri 10 Jan||8:00pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||*Tickets for the West End run still available*|
|Sat 11 Jan||8:00pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||*Tickets for the West End run still available*|
|Mon 13 Jan||8:00pm||Press Night||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£10|
|Tue 14 Jan||8:00pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||*Tickets for the West End run still available*|
|Wed 15 Jan||8:00pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||*Tickets for the West End run still available*|
|Thu 16 Jan||8:00pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||*Tickets for the West End run still available*|
|Fri 17 Jan||8:00pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||*Tickets for the West End run still available*|
|Sat 18 Jan||3:30pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||*Tickets for the West End run still available*|
|Sat 18 Jan||8:00pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||*Tickets for the West End run still available*|
Sold out Performances
Tickets are still available in advance for performances at the Duchess Theatre from 3rd February. Please click here to book
Not I/Footfalls/ Rockaby Press Quotes (January 2014)
5 stars “Taken together, they last only an hour but the experience is profound and deeply moving”
“There is great beauty in the writing and a determination to stare mortality in the face”
“Lisa Dwan makes the pieces entirely her own with a rapt concentration that holds the audience throughout.”
“The emotional truth of Dwan’s performance and the compassion and empathy of Beckett’s writing ensure that Walter Asmus’s production is beautiful and moving as well as chilling”
“You leave these searching plays feeling unexpectedly elated, for a walk through the night can be invigorating as well as scary.”
14.1.14, The Telegraph (Charles Spencer) 4 stars “A virtuosic performance”
An extraordinary hour-long experience that feels more like a group hallucination or a troubling collective dream than a theatrical event.
“Subtle and poetic”
“This unforgettable show.”
14.1.14, The Independent (Paul Taylor)
5 stars “An expressive spectacular.”
“Dwan [is] technically brilliant, emotionally fragile, deeply moving, like a wounded bird in a cage of her own devising”“This is Beckett in the raw, and the rude, and the timeless reality of his comic despair.”
14.1.14, What’s on Stage (Michael Coveney) 4 stars “A sensual, sensory experience.”
“Precise and technically exacting.”
“Dwan’s virtuosic performance is not a cerebral one – it’s more primal than that, a dark night of the soul in unnerving triplicate.”
14.1.14, Time Out (Andrzej Lukowski)
4 stars “Performer and audience are all in this together”
“There is a sense of terror and yet also of defiance “
14.1.13, The Guardian (Lyn Gardner)
“Gloriously gloomy, both physically and figuratively”
“What matters is the vivid, surprising sense of decay and defiance that Dwan delivers with such extraordinary rhythm and precision.”
“Even if you already know the high concept of Not I… that can’t prepare you for the sheer thrill of it. It is like nothing else in theatre”
“Dwan performs with an overwhelming musicality… It’s exhilarating”
“Dwan is startlingly good throughout a bill that glimpses into the abyss yet leaves us not despairing but glowing”
14.1.14, The Times (Dominic Maxwell)
4 stars “Lisa Dwan is sensationally good”
“A challenging and intriguingly rich triptych that claws at the soul”
“Huge technical rigour”
14.1.14, The Evening Standard (Henry Hitchings) 4 stars “Lisa Dwan dazzles”
“An unsettlingly memorable and brilliantly executed hour of theatre”
14.1.13, The Arts Desk (Caroline Crampton)
Praise for Not I (Originally performed by Lisa Dwan at the Royal Court in May 2013) 5 stars “Lisa Dwan… demonstrates that Not I is not just learnable and playable, but it’s an unforgettable eight-minute-and-45-second experience for the audience, too”
“The result feels as much like a seance as theatre, a kind of collective hallucination”
“It is an extraordinary experience, completely immersive”
“We walk out of theatre knowing we’ve been given one more chance to live.”
23.5.13, Guardian (Lyn Gardner) 4 stars “Dwan’s is a dazzling technical performance”
23.5.13, Telegraph (Jane Shilling)
“A verbal hailstorm charged with pent-up agony”
““An abstract, visceral experience”
“Her performance is brave and technically adroit. Elements of poetry survive the frantic rush. It feels virtually unmediated – just as Beckett would have liked. At best, we glimpse the volcanic chaos of a desperate mind.”
23.5.13, ****, FT (Alexander Gilmour)
“Taking the baton from a now frail Whitelaw, [Dwan] has turned what is commonly regarded as the hardest role an actor can tackle into a tour de force. As she told the audience after the opening night: ‘It’ll be hard to go back to telly.’”
25.5.13, Times Editorial
“.. astonishing performance…No matter how much you swot up about the piece in advance, no matter how eloquent Dwan’s own descriptions of her preparations for this notoriously demanding role might be, nothing could prepare you for the experience of seeing her disembodied mouth rattling and babbling eight feet above your head.”
1.7.13, The Irish Times
“Brilliant, provocative and shocking”
30.6.13, Sunday Telegraph
“The words are a babble, an outpouring of agitated disjointed ramblings the voice totally disembodied… The effect of the staging was to disrupt even ones visual perception, the lips the only thing visible appearing to change in size and animate like a cartoon as time passed and the flow of words poured out.”
Samira Ahmed, 20.5.13, BBC Radio 3 Nightwaves