>Samuel Beckett: Krapp’s Last Tape, Gate Theatre, Dublin (Director: Michael Colgan)

>An almost bare, black stage, in its middle a weak lamp, beneath it a heavy, old, battered desk. The last remnant of civilisation, somewhere in the middle of nowhere, of nothingness. Behind it, Krapp, an old, sick man, long past his prime, long past any human contact. Left behind in blackness, Krapp, played by Michael Gambon, directed by Gate Director Michael Colgan, is the essential Beckettian character: a lonely figure lost in the void without hope or future. There is one dim light left, one last island of civilisation bexond which there is nothing.

This Krapp is staged with a tenderness that does not deny the desperation and hopelessness, but avoids the sentimentality that endangers his dignity. Gambon’s Krapp accepts that there is nothing left for him, but he is a t peace with himself, resigned to his fate but not dead inside. A deep exitentialism, softened with an earnest humanism flows through this production which is straightforward, simplistic even, and because of this stronger than many others. This is the way it is, it tells us, and the only thing we can do, is accept it with heads held high. Don’t fight our demons, especially those brought on by memory, but accept them into our lives.

Krapp has never been more honest and thereform never more touching than in this remarkable Gate produktion.

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