A Samuel Beckett Cabaret

Long Fringe

A Samuel Beckett Cabaret

Salvage Vanguard Theater, 2803 Manor Rd., 479-7529


Jan. 30, 1pm

Running time: 1 hr., 15 min.

A Samuel Beckett Cabaret pieces together three of the writer's shorter works to imply a harrowing narrative of despair, loss, and memory. The pieces – Catastrophe, Krapp's Last Tape, and Ohio Impromptu – are not linked in any clear narrative sense, although they do share very similar themes. Krapp's Last Tape and Ohio Impromptu in particular speak to a love lost through the hazy ashes of the memory.

The throughline, then, comes not from Beckett's notes but rather from director Jared Stein's use of Rick Roemer as the central figure of each piece. Roemer nails the aesthetic of these later Beckett works, in which age seems to be more on the playwright's mind, coming across as the charred husk of a man who will always regret his choices.

Beckett in particular is a playwright you have to play through, not around. If you err too much toward his bleak outlook, then you miss out on his diabolical humor and vice versa. Fourthworld Theatre's production does a great job of embracing all there is in Beckett: Roemer relishes the silliness of the word "spool" or taking a minute to chew on a banana as much as he does digging into the tragic impossibility of it all.

I think the amount of uncomfortable laughter throughout was a testament to the success of this show; the audience wanted to laugh at the absurdity in tragedy presented yet didn't want to think of human tragedy as a light thing. Beckett stares into its bleakness and laughs anyway, something that Fourthworld's production embraces.

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A Samuel Beckett Cabaret, Jared Stein, Rick Roemer, Fourthworld Theatre, FronteraFest

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