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Meeting a Beckett text for the first time engages one in a phenomenological consideration of the director/actor relationship through the rehearsal process as mediated by the distinct requirements of the Beckett production text. As a consequence of working with the actor Virginia Byron
on Beckett’s play Rockaby at the Drayton Court Theatre in June 2003, it is my contention that Beckett engages with a profound sympathy for the human condition in his text articulated by a genuine ‘warmth’ and ‘care’ in the delineation of character. This
is counterpointed by an intentionally harsh control of the performer’s body and performance conditions to create the necessary tension of Beckett’s theatrical vision. The director/actor relationship must negotiate the performative realities and possibilities offered through the
text to find the true depth of this feeling. Beckett’s conditions for the production of his plays are, I believe, necessary prerequisites for the realization of this feeling in performance.
Studies in Theatre and Performance is a peer-reviewed journal which fosters a progressive forum to explore the nuances of theatre practice. The journal provides a critical scope to include other related disciplines in its scrutiny of the stage, exploring the interplay between performance, audience and dramatic practice.