Saturday, December 3, 2011

Quick Hit Theater Review: Krapp's Last Tape -- Long Wharf

Brian Dennehy. Photo: T. Charles Erickson 
Krapp's Last Tape
By Samuel Beckett
Directed by Jennifer Tarver

Summary:
Krapp (Brian Dennehy) looks back over his life with the help of some tape recordings he made in the past, particularly one made on his 39th birthday, which launches some questions in the present like: has he missed his chance for happiness?; where has the time gone?: and is the banana-obsessed old man who delights in saying the word "spool" really the sum of what he was supposed to have become? Are any of us?

Highlights:
It's always a pleasure to see Dennehy on stage, and Krapp is no exception. Especially interesting was a computer glitch which messed up the recordings the evening I attended, causing Dennehy to adlib with the audience while the crew tried to figure out what to do. Probably as fascinating as a Dennehy performance is seeing him slowly sucked out of character into reality. Once the problem was fixed, he returned to the stage, rewound the scene again from before the compter glitch, and was fully back in character. He can make eating a banana really interesting theater.

Lowlights:
Beckett isn't everyone's cup of tea. There are long gaps with no dialogue, even times when the actor is off stage for a while. It's a cerebral workout where many are tempted to ask, "What the heck?" rather than light entertainment, but the one-act is only 54 minutes, so give it a shot.

Information:
Krapp's Last Tape runs through Dec. 18 on Stage II at Long Wharf, 222 Sargent Drive, New Haven. Tickets at $70 are available at 203-787-4282 and www.longwharf.org.

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Lauren Yarger with playwright Alfred Uhry at the Mark Twain House. Photo: Jacques Lamarre)

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