Thomas Becker has been thinking about performing "Krapp's Last Tape" for years, but it frightened him a bit.
"At first glance, what in the heck is this about?" he asked. "Why is this old man sitting listening to tapes in a dark room? You start to realize it's a character study on all these different levels."
Becker has the title role in Samuel Beckett's Nobel-Prize-winning monologue "Krapp's Last Tape," starting Friday at the Brigit St. Brigit Theatre. "The Tinker's Wedding," by J.M. Synge, completes the double bill of Irish playwrights.
"Krapp's Last Tape," which had its premiere in 1958, presents a writer in a dark room on his 69th birthday. Under a single lamp, he hauls out a tape recorder and fumbles through reels of tape. He has recorded himself each year on his birthday, commenting on events of the previous year.
Krapp, at 69, listens to Krapp, at age 39, and sneers. Krapp, at age 39, comments on the tape he has just listened to of Krapp, in his late 20s, who also sneers at his younger self.
At each age, he realizes he didn't have any idea what was important in life when he was younger.
Becker says it's evident Krapp wanted to be a great writer, sacrificing human connections that are all-important in life amid a single-minded search. He also finds many similarities between Krapp's life and the author's.
"That's important because of the emotional quality those allusions bring to the piece," he said.
Becker returned to acting, in local productions, just a few years ago.
"I remember that kind of single-mindedness, a kind of arrogance in your 20s," he said. "There's a naivete about how easy it is, that these things will come to you as long as you work hard. Sadly, that's not true for everybody."
Krapp, he said, is a great counterexample of whom not to become.
"Thank goodness I've taken time to make those connections," he said. "There's still room for art. Acting provides sustenance. It's fulfilling. But it's not life."
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