(Listen now on Radio 4: )

Matthew Sweet presents a sequence of radio plays by Samuel Beckett, with Stephen Rea and Ian McKellen. Newly recorded in binaural sound as part of Radio 3's 70th season which celebrates seven decades of pioneering music and culture since the founding of the Third Programme.

Like no other dramatist, Beckett's works capture the pathos and irony of modern life.

In the decade following the success of Waiting for Godot (1952), Samuel Beckett wrote some of his most absorbing work for radio, including the BBC's Third Programme. These plays are suffused with a musicality which, though evident in his novels, poetry and plays, is particularly remarkable in this medium. They are concerned with human isolation and the frailty of memory and communication.

With the exception of the monologue FROM AN ABANDONED WORK, the plays can be heard in binaural surround sound. Just wear your headphones.

The plays will give a great insight into the development of Beckett's style and into his approach to sound. Increasingly different in tone and conception from his stage work, the radio plays become more abstract as characters become less individualised and more representative.

FROM AN ABANDONED WORK performed by Stephen Rea

He ….. Ron Cook
She ….. Monica Dolan

Animator ….. Stephen Dillane
Stenographer ….. Louise Brealey
Fox ….. Brian Protheroe
Dick ….. Nick Underwood

Croak ….. Ian McKellen
Words ….. Carl Prekopp

Voice ….. Stanley Townsend
Opener ….. David Seddon

Music composed and directed by Roger Goula
Composer's assistant: Jessica Jones

Music performed by 
Piano: Kit Downes
Violin: Georgia Hannant
Viola: Oli Langford
Bass Clarinet: Nicola Baigent
Flute: Michael Liu
Cellist: Raphael Lang
Synth: Jessica Jones

Directed by Gaynor Macfarlane.

Photo: LA Times.

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