Krapp’s Last Tape – Itim Ensemble
Written by: Ayelet Dekel
From the first low electric rumbling in the dark, to the last denial – “No, I would not have them back” – as the old man’s days unwind, the Itim Ensemble production of Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape, is a profound experience of the senses and emotions. Translated by Dori Parnes, adapted and directed by Rina Yerushalmi, inspired lighting by Avi Yona Bueno (Bambi), music by Avi Belleli, costume and set design by Yehudit Aharon, and video by Nimrod Zin – all come together as one vision, and Doron Tavory delivers a performance that batters the heart.
Closely following Beckett’s meticulous stage instructions almost to a fault – then breaking wildly free, Yerushalmi presents the one-act play: on a “late evening in the future” Krapp, “a wearish old man” sits with the recordings he has made, documenting his life, listening, rewinding, skipping forward, going back, reflecting on “the stupid bastard I took myself for thirty years ago” and recording this moment in some future present.
Doron Tavory embodies the role, his visage and bearing transformed into that of an old, rather frail man. As the play opens, he sits at a table, staring at the reel-to-reel tape recorder, stern and severe, and perhaps sad in his scrutiny; eyes gazing out into the dark before him. Moving slowly and deliberately, without uttering a word Tavory conveys a lifetime in a series of simple repeated actions: jingling his keys, taking a small folded paper out of one pocket and turning around in his hands before placing it back in another pocket – everything he does has been done before many times.
With the solemnity and exact timing of a clown, he peers into a drawer, tenderly strokes a banana, or absent-mindedly licks his fingers and wipes them on his shirt front. A hymn to the inconsequential, a celebration of minute detail; a dark figure rimmed in light as he pours another drink, a poet of nothingness. His voice ragged and worn, he delights in the word “spool,” repeating it, lips curling out like the petals of a flower. Listening to the voice of his past self, brimming with vigor and confidence, his eyebrows lift, the corners of his mouth turn down.
Tavory’s performance is riveting, he has so many different grins and grimaces that one would need to invent a vocabulary to describe them all: the bitter wedge of pie as one corner of the mouth lifts in a crooked grin; the slight tuck-in at the corner, the full-out over-turned bowl of a frown, the barest indication of a fleeting smile, the rosebud of a mouth sliding up into a sly mischievous smile at one corner. Grinning, grieving, angry, bemused, seductive, he ventures through the dark terrain of death and desire, moments and memory.
Krapp’s Last Tape by Samuel Beckett
Translated by Dori Parnes
Adapted and directed by Rina Yerushalmi
Performer: Doron Tavory
Music: Avi Belleli
Lighting Design: Avi Yona Bueno (Bambi)
Costume and Set Design: Yehudit Aharon
Video: Nimrod Zin
Check for future performances on the Cameri Theatre site.