Director Sean Graney and the Hypocrites have chosen a remarkable setting for these three Beckett one-acts: the cavernous Athenaeum mainstage. Quarantined in a small section of the upper balcony, surveying the dark and empty theater, the audience is placed in a position of Beckettian futility and melancholia before the first words are spoken. Graney uses the full resources of the space, presenting “Not I” on the far-off stage, “Footfalls” directly before the audience in the balcony aisle, and “Come & Go” on a balcony in the middle distance. The visual impact of this immersive production is enormous, but I wish the plays themselves had received a more delicate treatment. While the gigantic projection of Mechelle Moe’s Mouth in “Not I” renders the drama of her articulating lips, teeth and tongue almost grotesquely visible, for instance, the play’s monologue is rushed, delivered throughout in a monotonous fury. “Footfall,” likewise, pairs an inventive visual choice (an elongated shadow for the mother’s voice) with a too-frequently hurried and almost melodramatic delivery. Even the spare language of “Come & Go” suffers from the exaggerated comedy of the women’s whispers and hushes. The set of one-acts leaves you with a set of memorable images, but only a hazy sense of the power of Beckett’s original plays. (John Beer)
This production is now closed.