A PERFORMANCE ON SCREEN
An Exploration of the Works of Samuel Beckett
Conceived and Performed by Bill Irwin
Directed for Camera by M. Florian Staab and Bill Irwin
Starring Bill Irwin
“CRITIC’S PICK! Captivating…radiant, living theater” – Ben Brantley, New York Times
Bill Irwin can’t escape Samuel Beckett. The pandemic hasn’t changed this. Two years ago, Irwin took the Irish Rep stage to premiere On Beckett, his award-winning meditation on Samuel Beckett’s works and language. Since then, COVID-19 has upended daily life worldwide, and live theatre is on hold as venues stand empty. In this time of anxiety and loss, Irwin revisits the words of Samuel Beckett, and returns alone to the Irish Rep digital stage, to bring us On Beckett / In Screen, a new meditation filmed for our current times.
In this intimate evening, Irwin will mine the physical and verbal skills acquired in his years as a master clown and Tony Award-winning actor to explore a performer’s relationship to Beckett in the time of COVID. Irwin’s approach to the comic, the tragic, to every side of Beckett’s work – including “Waiting for Godot,” “The Unnamable,” and “Texts for Nothing” – will allow audiences to experience the Nobel Prize winner’s language in compelling new ways.
Irish Repertory Theatre is proud to present On Beckett / In Screen by master clown, Tony Award-winning actor, and MacArthur, Guggenheim, and Fulbright Fellow Bill Irwin, featuring selections from works by Nobel Prize-winning writer Samuel Beckett. This is a new play, first premiering on-screen in November of 2020 as part of Irish Rep’s Digital Fall Season, was drawn from Irwin’s award-winning production, On Beckett, which premiered at Irish Repertory Theatre in 2018 to wide acclaim, winning a special Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Alternative Theatrical Experience. Previous iterations of On Beckett have been performed at American Conservatory Theater (ACT) in San Francisco and workshopped at Vineyard Theatre in New York and the Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle.
“A delight to watch….Mr. Irwin’s manner is engaging and unpretentious… [On Beckett / In Screen has] a tonic effect on the viewer, reminding us that whatever else may be happening out in the world, it is our task to overcome the deadening torpor of habit and live fully—and courageously.” – Terry Teachout, The Wall Street Journal
“Irwin enlightens us with his professorial knowledge and delivers it in a genial, conversational way, so that we emerge feeling smarter for having been in his presence. What an invigorating feeling to have, the sort that we get only after seeing a great piece of theater.” – David Gordon, TheaterMania
“A compelling homage… If you are a Beckett aficionado, or someone who would like to learn more about him and his haunting words, be sure to catch the enriching show.” – Deb Miller, DC Metro Theater Arts
Reviews for our 2018 production of On Beckett:
“a delicious piece of theater… a playful, intimate experiment conducted by a master practitioner… utterly delightful” – Sara Holdren, New York Magazine
“masterful… Beckett’s words bloom not just with humor but with poignant emotion” – Theatermania
“near-90 minutes of pleasure…Irwin’s physical comedy is delicious… a brilliant gateway to understanding [Beckett]” – Tim Teeman, The Daily Beast
Special thanks to Lisa Loosemore, Rachel McAndrew, Morgan Entrekin, Grove Atlantic, Martha Roth, Valerie Borchardt, Santos Irwin, Nan Irwin, Edward Beckett, Gary Gersh, and Vineyard Theatre. Irish Repertory Theatre would also like to thank the Howard Gilman Foundation and the Emigrant Support Program of the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs.
On Beckett / In Screen is produced under the SAG -AFTRA New Media Agreement.