(Peter Bradshaw’s article appeared in the Guardian 8/7.)
The annual Happy Days International Beckett festival is now in its third year at Enniskillen in Co Fermanagh, the scene of Samuel Beckett's teenage years at Portora Royal School. (There are plans next year to move the festival to Paris, where he spent most of his adult life.)
This week, it presented Peter Stein's icily commanding and anguished account of Beckett's captivating dual-voice aria of middle-age and decrepitude, Krapp's Last Tape, in the German-language translation with English surtitles.
A cantankerous old man of 69 called Krapp – a common enough German and Dutch name, and also a scatological wisecrack hiding in plain sight – listens alone to taped musings he made when he was 39, and prepares to record a new entry.