Weavving the extraordinary from the everyday is the poet’s privilege and gift.
In Samuel Beckett’s “All That Fall, A Radio Play,” at 59E59 Theaters through December 8th under the direction of Trevor Nunn, the ordinary characters of an Irish country town are out and about on a fine morning.
|Eileen Atkins, Catherine Cusack, Frank Grimes, and Billy Carter
in Samuel Beckett’s “All That Fall,” directed by Trevor Nunn,
at 59E59 Theaters. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
The aged Mrs. Rooney (Eileen Atkins) is on her way to the railroad station to meet her husband’s train. Along the way, she complains and berates her neighbors as she goes.
Each of them is a slightly skewed stock figure on parade. Her first exchange is with Christy (Ruairi Conaghan), pulling his stubborn mare and dung cart. “How is your poor wife?,” Mrs. Rooney inquires while Christy in turn offers her some dung. “What we want with dung at our time of life?”
Mrs. Rooney next encounters Mr. Tyler (Frank Grimes) on his bicycle, and Mr. Slocum (Trevor Cooper) offers her a lift in his automobile, and is tasked with hiking her up into the car.
But Mrs Rooney’s crispest exchanges are with the stationmaster, Mr. Barrell (James Hayes), and the pious spinster, Miss Fitt (Catherine Cusack.) When Dan Rooney (Michael Gambon) finally comes off the train, led by the boy Jerry (Liam Thrift) he is all misery and bluster.
|Michael Gambon as Dan Rooney and Eileen Atkins as Mrs. Rooney in “All That Fall,” under the direction of Trevor Nunn at 59E59 Theaters through December 8th. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
Staged as a radio play, with sound effects (with Paul Groothuis leading the sound design), and old -style microphones dangling from the ceiling across the nearly bare set (designed by Cherry Truluck), “All That Fall” is read from textts in the actors’ hands. As gthe fine morning wears away, “All That Fall” is soggy and depressing.
For more information about “All That Fall,” please visit 59e59.org.