‘Not I’ is a twenty-minute dramatic monologue written in 1972 by
Samuel Beckett and premiered at the “Samuel Beckett Festival” by the Repertory Theatre of Lincoln Centre, New York in Oct 1972 and was directed by Alan Schneider, with Jessica Tandy as ‘The Mouth’ and Henderson Forsythe as ‘The Auditor’.
‘Not I’ is set in a pitch-black space illuminated only by a single beam of light. This spotlight
fixes on an actress's mouth on the stage and everything else being blacked outand, in early performances, illuminates the shadowy figure of the Auditor who makes four movements of “helpless compassion” during brief intervals in the monologue where Mouth appears to be listening to some inner voice but is unheard
by the audience.
The mouth utters at a ferocious pace a ‘logorrhoea’ of fragmented, jumbled sentences which obliquely tells the story of a woman of about seventy who having been abandoned by her parents after a premature birth has lived a loveless, mechanical existence and who appears to have suffered an unspecified traumatic experience. The woman has been virtually mute since childhood apart from occasional outbursts, one of which comprises the text we hear. From the text it could be inferred that the woman had been raped but this is something Beckett was very clear about when asked:
“How could you think of such a thing!?
“No, no, not at all –it wasn’t that at all”.
It seems more likely that she has suffered some kind of collapse, possibly even her death, while “wandering in a field … looking aimlessly for cowslips.”
Her initial reaction to the paralyzing event is to assume she is being punished by God but finds she is not suffering; she feels no pain, as in life she felt no pleasure. She cannot think why she might be being punished but accepts that God does not need a “particular reason” for what He does. She thinks she has something to tell though doesn’t know what but believes if she goes over the events of her life for long enough she will stumble upon that thing for which she needs to seek forgiveness. In addition to the continued buzzing in her skull there is now a light of varying intensity tormenting her; the two seem related.
As in many of Beckett’s works there is a cyclical nature fading in and out to similar expressions suggesting this is a snapshot of a much larger event.
Beckett had always intended that Billie Whitelaw, whom he had worked with on Play, give the definitive premiere performance of ‘Not I’, but in the end, more out of friendship than because of any delays in London, he allowed Alan Schneider the opportunity to present it first in America featuring Jessica Tandy.
However, Whitelaw’s subsequent performances benefited from extensive coaching from Beckett.
That said, Beckett did not demand that the part be spoken with an accent, his one concession to Whitelaw when tutoring her. Schneider put ten questions to Beckett, indicative of his bafflement. Beckett responded
“I no more know where she is or why thus than she does. All I know is in the text. ‘She’ is purely a stage entity, part of a stage image and purveyor of a stage text. The rest is Ibsen.”
The visual image of the mouth was, according to Beckett in a letter from 1974, suggested by The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist (Caravaggio) in Valletta Cathedral.
The published stage directions also call for a character of indeterminate sex referred to as 'the Auditor' (generally played by a male) who wears a black robe and can be dimly seen stage left. When Beckett came to be involved in staging the play, he found that he was unable to place the Auditor in a stage
position that pleased him, and consequently allowed the character to be omitted from those productions. However, he chose not to cut the character from the published script, and whether or not the character is used in production seems to be at the discretion of individual producers
When Schneider questioned him as to whether the Auditor was Death or a guardian angel, Beckett shrugged his shoulders, lifted his arms and let them fall to his sides, leaving the ambiguity wholly intact.
Below I have posted a video of Billie Whitelaw portraying 'The Mouth'.
Give this a read and tell me you dont want to come and see Frankenstein!!!
Here is the link for the article that was featured in last Saturdays edition of 'The Sentinel'.
The article discusses the filming of my short story.
Directed by: Matthijs van Heijningen jr
Written by : Eric Heisserer (Based on the novella Who Goes
There? by John W.
Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, Ulrich
Thomsen, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Eric Christian Olsen
Palaeontologist Kate Lloyd is invited by Dr. Sandor Halvorson to join his
team who have found something extraordinary.
Deep below the Arctic ice, they have found an alien spacecraft that has
been there for perhaps 100,000 years.
Not far from where the craft landed, they find the remains of the
occupant. It is cut out of the ice and taken back to their camp, but as the ice
melts the creature reanimates and not only begins to attack them but manages to infect them. With the team members devolving into the alien creature they are slowly eliminated one by one, until only Kate and one other remain….
I know this review is probably a bit late now, but I have only recently
watched the film so decided to post my thoughts anyway.
I think it is fair to say that this ‘Prelude’ to John Carpenters classic was never going to come close to capturing the same atmosphere and character of the original.
With that in mind it is easier to review the film based on it being a separate entity.
I have to say that I actually rather enjoyed the film. This may surprise a
few readers based on the bad reception the film received when released, which I have to say I find a little unfair.
Granted the film lacked in the claustrophobia department and the paranoia
seemed a little thin (all comparisons made with the 1982 version), but I have to lay blame at the script for this and the direction not on the actors. I felt the
actors did as much as they could with what I can only judge as mediocre
direction and a very limited script.
The film seemed to want to push the alien at you rather than keep it from
you, a bad choice as the fear of the unknown is far greater.
Towards the end I found myself shouting at the screen asking ‘Where is the dog?’ and ‘There should be more Norwegians!’ A problem again I lay at the feet of the director and screenplay; the whole plot became a little confusing. Maybe my fault as I was constantly trying to attach Carpenters film to this one, and if I had been patient it finally was with the closing credits.
The ending with the whole battle on the alien craft I did find a little farcical and really quite pointless. A better death scene for the ’conjoined’
alien, which we then see in the Carpenter version, would have made a better
conclusion but again that would just be my opinion.
The special effects of the Alien appeared mediocre and the Alien itself
rather lame and at times modelled on a rather large crab.
All this into account the film was ok. I cannot say that I was ever bored
despite the somewhat obvious plot.
To say that the film is a ‘Carbon Copy’ of the 1982 version is an insult
to Carpenter and a term I will not use here, but that said it does appear to
have tried to replicate many aspects.
In defence of the film, trying to incorporate a new plot where you are
trapped with a Viral, Parasitic alien in an area made up of roughly 5,300,000 sq mi of ice cannot be easy when trying to not stray to far from the original and keeping in mind it is meant to be a ‘prequel’.
All in all, Nothing to shout about but worth a watch.
(See trailer below)
Purchase ‘The Thing’ 2011/1982
John Carpenters ‘The Thing’ DVD http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Thing-DVD-Kurt-Russell/dp/B00004D07X/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1346158978&sr=8-4
The above picture is apparently that of the said Lion that has been reported to have been in or near St Osyth, reported badly in my!
Is there or was there a Lion in essex? In my opinion, no. While i am a major supportive of the 'Big Cat' phenomenon and firmly believe in the existence of big cats in the wild in the UK i cannot think that a Lion would have gone un-noticed in the area.
Firstly the Circus that was in the area has stated they have not kept lions for years and Colchester zoo stated their animals were all accounted for.
However, the possibility of a Lynx or similar could be very true. Listening to witness accounts on the news and taking into account the distances from the animal, a smaller cat is highly probable.
The above photo is a still from the video footage obtained by Sky News from eye-witnesses. Assuming the camera owner was zooming in the animal must have been quite a distance away.
They then stated that the animal ran off when a farmer, who i assume was closer, came into the field.
I myself am torn, but verging on the side that this was not a Lion incident. The first picture has not been released by the UK press as i understand so i think this maybe a still from the footage shot in Ohio, USA.
The second is, in my opinion, inconclusive.
I think my hope in all this is that it may give the public, or those who have an active sense to find related topics, the chance to look into this kind of event and realise that this is not a new occurrence.
Remember! Out there in the wilds of the UK big cats are roaming free!
Written by : Steven K Beattie
Directed by: Philip Kempson
Damen William Lewis
Pre-production for the filming of Miller's Court is now all but complete, and filming is scheduled for early September 2012.
Locations, Crew and Cast have all been assembled now and are ready to go.
Philip, the director has worked tirelessly over the last few months finding locations, story-boarding and working out the best possible special effects.
Phill is local to Stoke-on-Trent and has worked in the entertainment industry for over twenty years; working for companies such as Warner Bros and M.G.M.
He then set up Chameleon Monkey Ltd to help promote the Staffordshire area through film.
We are delighted to welcome to the project Damen William Lewis, Jade Hammond and Kris Walker as our principal cast.
The Sentinel, Stoke film office and Ray Johnson are all on board in helping this project get recognition within the area. The premiere will be held at the Stoke Film Theatre and will later be distributed into the FILM4 FrightFest ready for next year.
Obviously the film depends an awful lot on the help of others and your contributions are essential to the success of the film. Myself and the production team would be eternally grateful for any contributions.
If you wish to help out in anyway you can visit the Sponsume website via the link below and donate to the film and even become a producer for the film.
Below you will find the link to read Miller's Court absolutely free, and the promo video. There is also a link to Chameleon Monkey Ltd for more info on current projects.
Click here to read Miller's Court'
Local theatre company, Stage Productions are to put on Boublil and Schonbergs 'Miss Saigon' right here in Stoke on Trent.
This will be a two-week run in September 2012.
Anyone wishing to attend must be between the ages of 13 - 19 (this is a youth production/school edition).
Auditions will be held on Sunday 6th May (time and location tbc).
For more info please check out Stage Productions Facebook page for updates:
Also check out the video below to learn or re-kindle the some of the music from this fantastic musical.
Steven K Beattie's blogs. Ranging from news regarding his latest projects to general topics of discussion.