(Roslyn Sulcassept’s article appeared in The New York Times, 9/24; via Pam Green.)
CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND — First comes a layer of thick black grease, applied from the neck to just below the eyes. The lips are carefully painted red. Then a blindfold, then clinging black fabric wrapped around the head. At that point, Lisa Dwan is guided up steps to a wooden board, her arms pinioned through metal brackets on each side, her head fitted into a small opening and secured in place by thick straps that cover her ears. Unable to see, unable to hear, she takes a deep breath and opens her mouth.
“It looks like torture, and it is,” said Ms. Dwan, an Irish actress who will perform three short plays by Samuel Beckett — “Not I,” “Footfalls” and “Rockaby” — at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Harvey Theater from Oct. 7 to 12. The contraption that pins Ms. Dwan in place is of her own devising, to keep her body utterly still and her senses neutralized while she delivers the torrent of truncated phrases, punctuated by shrieks, that is “Not I,” a breathless monologue delivered by a disembodied mouth eight feet above the stage.