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‘Beckett5’: KOAN Unit rings in 2017 at Odyssey
with quintet of short plays by Samuel Beckett
LOS ANGELES (Dec. 13, 2016) — The KOAN Unit kicks off the new year with Beckett5, a quintet of darkly humorous, seldom-seen short plays by Samuel Beckett opening January 21 at the Odyssey Theatre.
Norbert Weisser (Taking Sides on Broadway, The Arsonists and Times Like These at the Odyssey) takes on the title role in the evening’s centerpiece, Krapp’s Last Tape. Elderly and ailing, Krapp sits at his desk and prepares to listen to audiotape diaries he made thirty years earlier. Beckett’s theatrical poem, one of his most personal works, is infused with his history, emotion and an abiding sense of irony as he captures the weight of regret for missed opportunity and lost love.
KOAN Unit ensemble members Alan Abelew, Diana Cignoni, Sheelagh Cullen and Elizabeth Hogan star in the evening’s other four plays, each a splendid example of Beckett’s mastery of minimalist structure.
Considered by critics to be one of the playwright’s most “perfect” plays (Beckett agonized over each individual line until they exactly matched his creative vision), Come and Go is described as a “dramaticule” on its title page and contains only 121 words.
Footfalls features the character of May, wrapped in tatters and pacing back and forth “like a metronome” on a strip of bare landing outside her dying mother’s room.
Act Without Words II is a short mime play. A and B, asleep in their sleeping bags, are goaded into their respective lives by an unseen force. Although they never meet, they carry each other through life.
In Catastrophe, a director and his assistant prepare an aged man for a public spectacle for a political purpose. One of Beckett’s only politically-themed works, and perhaps his most optimistic, it was written in 1982 and dedicated to then-imprisoned Czech reformer and playwright, Václav Havel.
The creative team for Beckett5 includes set designer Mark Guirguis; lighting designer Chu-Hsuan Chang; sound designer Christopher Moscatiello; costume designer Audrey Eisner; and props designer Danny Felix.
Samuel Beckett (1906-1989) is widely recognized as one of the greatest dramatists of the 20th century. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969. Best known for his play Waiting for Godot which launched his career in theater, he then went on to write numerous successful full-length plays including Endgame in 1957, Krapp’s Last Tape in 1958 and Happy Days in 1960. Beckett’s works capture the pathos and ironies of modern life, yet still maintain his faith in man’s capacity for compassion and survival no matter how absurd his environment may have become.
Performances of Beckett5 take place Jan. 21 through March 5 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Two additional weeknight performances are scheduled on Thursday, Feb. 16 and Wednesday, Feb. 22, both at 8 p.m. Tickets are $34 on Saturdays and Sundays; $30 on Fridays; and $25 on Wednesdays and Thursdays, with discounted tickets available for students and members of SAG/AFTRA/AEA. There will be three “Tix for $10” performances on Friday, Feb. 3; Thursday, Feb. 16 and Friday, March 3. Post-performance discussions are scheduled on Friday, Feb. 10 and Wednesday, Feb. 22. The third Friday of every month is wine night at the Odyssey: enjoy complimentary wine and snacks and mingle with the cast after the show.
The Odyssey Theatre is located at 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West Los Angeles, 90025. For reservations and information, call (310) 477-2055 or go to OdysseyTheatre.com.
Details for Calendar Listings
Beckett5 — The KOAN Unit kicks off the new year at the Odyssey with a quintet of darkly humorous, seldom-seen short plays by Samuel Beckett: Krapp’s Last Tape; Come and Go; Footfalls; Act Without Words II; and Catastrophe.
• Written by Samuel Beckett
• Starring Alan Abelew, Diana Cignoni, Sheelagh Cullen, Elizabeth Hogan, Norbert Weisser
• Presented by KOAN Unit
Jan, 21 – March 5:
• Wednesday at 8 p.m.: Feb. 22* ONLY
• Thursday at 8 p.m.: Feb. 16 ONLY
• Fridays at 8 p.m.: Jan. 27; Feb, 3, 10*, 17**, 24; March 3
• Saturdays at 8 p.m.: Jan. 21 (opening night), 28; Feb. 4, 11, 18, 25; March 4
• Sundays at 2 p.m.: Jan 29; Feb, 5, 12, 19, 26; March 5 (No 2 p.m. matinee on Jan. 22)
• Sunday at 5 p.m.: Jan. 22 ONLY
* Post-show discussion with the cast scheduled
**The third Friday of every month is wine night at the Odyssey: enjoy complimentary wine and snacks and mingle with the cast after the show.
2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90025
• $25–$34 (reserved seating)
• Discounted tickets available for students and members of Equity/Sag for select performances
• Three “Tix for $10”: Fri., Feb. 3; Thurs., Feb. 16 and Fri. March 3