all that fall / stage play

(samuel beckett)

New translation and open-air staging of Beckett's ambiguous 1957 radioplay 'All That Fall'.

Premiere Dutch version: June 2008, Oerol Festival, Terschelling (NL)
Premiere German version ('Alle, die da fallen'): June 2009, Festival Theaterformen, Hannover (DE)

The text

'All That Fall' (1957) is a text with a tight structure and loose morals; a marvellous example of Beckett's particular mix of humour and pathos, his grim but buoyant tragicomic vision, his acute pessimism and brutal simplicity.
Samuel Beckett (1904-1989) wrote the text as a commissioned radio-play for the BBC. It is one grand exercise in language, where Beckett calls on the many-sided, especially sexual, innuendos of English-language usage. That's perhaps why this one of the few pieces that he did not himself translate into French, though perfectly bilingual. Waas Gramser and Kris Van Trier have made a new translation fully underscoring the ambiguities and double-meanings that abound in this text.
'All That Fall' is not the first work by Beckett taken on by Comp.Marius. In 2006 we mounted a collage-presentation of 'Kleine Ondervraging' ('Brief Interrogation') a fragment from 'Endgame', and in 2007, in collaboration with the Dutch ensemble 't Barre Land, a production of 'Happy Days'.

The setting

'All That Fall / stage play' is set in the open air, on a country lane on the way to the station.
The semi-circular, wooden grandstand of Comp.Marius is erected along the way. A 20-metre section of railway line is laid by the Company, and runs alongside the path. A small station is mounted on the line and a placard bears the name 'Boghill' Two signboards indicate the way for scatologically evocative destinations. A crossing barrier separates the playing surface of the reception area and the public.

The tone is set right from the start. The audience takes part in a horserace where Burning Betsy is hotly pursued by Hard Tony, ever closer on her tail. Next, the audience takes their place in the grandstand. Mrs Rooney, a woman of 70, is on the way to the station to pick up her husband. Three men cross her path. All have a problem with their own locomotion: Mrs. Rooney owing to her extreme corpulence; the farmer because his donkey refuses to advance; the cyclist's tyre is flat, and the car has broken down. Beckett's venerable theme: impotence, expressed in three vehicles and 100 kilos of cellulitis! On the way home, she is alone with her husband, and the tone shifts. Slapstick now makes way for a much subdued air; the crude jokes turn to black humour. Here, Beckett does honour to his reputation: two people in an immeasurable emptiness, delivered over to one another, a life ever stuck in the same groove.


Translation: Waas Gramser, Kris Van Trier
Actors: Frank Dierens, Yves Degryse, Waas Gramser, Kyoko Scholiers/Katrin Lohmann, Kris Van Trier
Costumes: Thijsje Strypens
Sets/technical: Koen Schetske, Bram Verhagen
Co-production: Comp.Marius in collaboration with Terschellings Oerol Festival 2008