(Judith Mackrell’s article appeared in the Guardian, 7/28.)
Back in 1981, when Maguy Marin was a young and unknown choreographer, she wrote to Samuel Beckett asking for permission to adapt his work. She had no expectation of a reply, but the great man not only approved the project but also invited Marin to meet him and discuss it. The result was May B, a scrupulously moving, clever and funny homage, which has just been given a well-deserved revival at the Happy Days festival in Enniskillen.
Only a fragment of Beckett is actually spoken in May B – the opening line from Endgame “Finished, it’s finished, nearly finished, it must be nearly finished.” But that one line is key to Marin’s choreographic choice. All of Beckett’s language has a musical pulse and pattern, but the more minimalist his works become, the closer they also veer towards choreography, to a dance of words and silence. It’s that near-abstract Beckett which Marin evokes during the opening section of May B.
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