A trio of the Irish playwright’s one-act plays is headed to MONA’s Mofo. Actor Pamela Rabe takes us inside these “ghost stories”.

The shabby silhouette of a barely visible female figure takes nine shuffling steps down a dimly lit corridor. Over and over again she paces up and down this gloomy stretch of floorboards while she speaks with her ‘mother’ – a sinister, disembodied voice. Why this woman, named May, is locked in this tortured loop is never explained; we can only guess if the voice she hears is real or just some auditory hallucination. And yet, this cryptic study of obsessive-compulsion seethes with existential intrigue and drama. This is the universe of Footfalls, by the indomitable Irish playwright and literary savant, Samuel Beckett.

One man’s visionary is another’s lunatic, and indeed Beckett’s dark genius was viewed by some during his lifetime as a journey too far into the avant-garde. Yet art that leaves one generation puzzled can sometimes find a resonance with the next, and Beckett, once seenas intellectually brazen, difficult to grasp or just downright twisted, is considered now to be one of the most significant writers of the past century. He...

This article is available to Limelight subscribers.

Log in to continue reading.

Access our paywalled content and archive of magazines, regular news and features for the limited offer of $3 per month. Support independent journalism.

Subscribe now