Krapp 39

Michael Laurence

Pleasance Courtyard

From 03 August 2016 to 29 August 2016

Rating: ****

Review by Philip Fisher

American actor Michael Laurence scores an unlikely triumph playing himself in this meditation on a play about meditation.

The actor’s starting point was a desire to spend his 39th birthday recording (on video) the recorded sections of Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape when the character was also 39, with a view to waiting 30 years to perform the play in its entirety, helped by his younger self.

To that end, he made an application to the Beckett Trust for permission to include extracts from the masterpiece as part of this play.

He also wanted to explore the themes of the classic in terms of his own life and, ultimately, that is where this 70-minute performance goes.

We see Michael at various ages, recalling happy and sad times and loved ones, some of them now lost.

The result is a fascinating modern equivalent to Krapp, delivered with impeccable hesitancy which also becomes a fond tribute to the original—not that the Trust saw it that way.