The Godot Company, Beckett Short Works: Ohio Impromptu, Rough for Theatre 1, Rough for Theatre 2

Review in Issue 16-3/4 | Autumn 2004

Beckett’s desire to produce searing poetic images of loneliness and isolation are faithfully presented by The Godot Company. The weathered floorboards of the stage remind me of the dereliction in Beckett’s Film, setting the tone for the three pieces. In Ohio Impromptu, the image of two identical men – thick, silver hair touching the floor - sees the derelict state of our mind as age creeps upon us. The Roughs for Theatre provide two images of the search for help. In the first, a wheelchair-bound old man taunts a tramp for physical aid; in the second two ‘guardians’ search for evidence of ‘hope’ to prevent a silent figure from jumping to his death.

Ohio Impromptu is a bleak text delivered through Peter Marinker’s droning voice and punctuated by single ‘raps’ on the table from a listening figure. It is hard to listen to and its briefness means accessing the text is emotionally draining. Rough for Theatre 1 is more accessible, and Marinker is a marvellously excited bitter old man bringing out a comic vindictiveness against Anthony Jackson’s fumbling tramp, who is less engaging and lacks the fear of isolation.

The most emotionally desolate of the pieces is Rough for Theatre 2 whose lone man at the window incidentally bears a striking resemblance to a Hopper painting. Again Marinker is the primary source of comedy, the more bumbling but caring of the two. This is a fine contrast for Jackson’s stern authority and detached manner and leads us towards an empathy with the silent figure at the window. Small comic business serves to highlight the tragic loneliness of the lone man.

In all, an evening that allows these three Beckett texts to speak for themselves and underline Beckett as a master of the poetic image, and a source for us all to draw upon.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jun 2004

This article in the magazine

Issue 16-3/4
p. 27