“Out…into this world…this world…tiny little thing…before its time in godfor- WHAT?”
With such indecipherable jumbled jargon ‘Not I’ commences, and further and further into a flurry of emotionally resonant fragments it descends. Penned in 1972, the theatrical monologue is one of the late plays of Samuel Beckett, and has acquired a cult status for being one of the most electrifyingly tense theatrical productions ever conceived: nihilistically minimal, the stage set-up consists of a single spotlight illuminating the only visible object – a woman’s mouth. For a good 10-15 minutes (depending on how quickly the actress can leap over Beckett’s linguistic hurdles) it espouses a stream of consciousness memoir of a seventy-something woman who, until now, has been unable to speak.
Though conceived for the stage, Neil Jordan presents a film of ‘Not I’ in IMMA’s National Concert Hall exhibition space throughout August. Leaving the text untouched, Jordan’s interpretation derives its interest from experimentation with the medium of film itself: the monologue is presented from six angles, screened simultaneously in a novel set up. Now, Beckett purists will insist that the stage is the only way to go for ‘Not I’. But when viewed as an artwork in its own right, and not as a point of comparison, Jordan’s cinematic exploration of Beckett’s text stands up – and IMMA’s dynamic presentation of it promises to lend a dramatic gravitas lacking on YouTube rehashings of the play’s theatrical runs, however potent the original renderings once were.
Catch it at: National Concert Hall, August 8th – September 9th