Theater Review: Krapp’s Last Tape
By Samuel Beckett, Adapted and directed by Rina Yerushalmi; Itim Theater Ensemble, May 10.
Theater [illustrative] Photo: Thinkstock/Imagebank
If you’re a Beckett fan, do yourself a favor. Go see Doron Tavori perform
Krapp’s Last Tape. I have to restrain the instinct to blither superlatives,
because Tavori as Krapp is that amazing.
When we meet him it’s Krapp’s
69th birthday and he’s about to record the annual birthday tape. He’s a failed
writer who has also deliberately so frittered his emotions that only husks
remain. The piece is called Krapp’s Last Tape because we get the idea that
there’ll be nothing after this one.
Watching Tavori, iconic images come
to mind, in my case those of the unreconstructed Scrooge, Münch’s Scream, ghetto
walls. There’s also the feeling that for many years now, since that one birthday
30 years ago, this incarnation of Krapp has hauled out this particular tape, and
that every year he’s gone through the same ritual, in the same order, changing
nothing except, perhaps, the amount he drinks, and that year by year, as he
grows older, to the 69-year-old Krapp, the 39-year-old becomes less
Even as he listens and then, re-hearing, wildly
fantasizes, the man he was recedes and the man he is eludes
Personality and identity are skittish, says the
Beckett’s precise stage directions are intrinsic to his plays’
movement and meaning.
Yerushalmi here uses every one of them, but she’s
fleshed their bare bones, introduced tiny variations that augment the shape and
content of what occurs.
Tavori and Yerushalmi, the two of them offer us