Hugo Weaving talks about his ‘love affair’ with one of the 20th century’s knottiest writers.

Do you remember your first encounter with one of Samuel Beckett’s plays?

I don’t actually, but I can remember my first encounter with a Pinter. Of course Harold Pinter was massively influenced by Beckett and I can remember very clearly
that feeling of watching something that was somehow rarefied but also intensely engaging at the same time. I suspect that’s what I felt when I watched Beckett for the first time as well.

Of course Beckett isn’t easy. Some people get it and some people don’t. As an actor, when you sit down and look at a Beckett play, how tough do you find it?

Yeah, Beckett is very hard. It’s intensely demanding on the audience but also intensely demanding on the actor. Of course Beckett did say: “my ideal play would be one without any actors”. [laughs] But also theatre meant that he could be released from being on his own, I think. Writing meant that he, Samuel Beckett, could be engaged in a creative activity with other people. His plays demand a particular music, a particular rhythm and a particular form. The form is...

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