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Beckett's Radio Plays


Beckett's Radio Plays
RTÉ (Ireland's  National Radio and Television) Radio 1 in association with Gare St Lazare

Players Ireland  broadcast Beckett's seven radio plays; Embers, Words and Music, Rough for Radio 1, Rough for Radio 2, Cascando, The Old Tune and All that Fall  to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Samuel Beckett on Thursday, 13 April 2006.


01 Embers 35 minutes

Henry sits on the strand, tormented by the sound of the sea. He talks to his drowned father, who doesn't answer, and to his wife, Ada, who does. Throughout it all the sound of the sea weaves in and out, almost like a third character. Though Embers was written in 1958-1959, in 1986 Samuel Beckett could describe the location, Killiney Beach, near the Foxrock house in which he spent his youth, and the sound of the sea with exacting detail.

02 Words and Music 30 minutes

Words and Music was written by Samuel Beckett in 1962. In this piece, two characters entitled Words (or Bob) and Music (Joe) work together and against each other in order to produce songs, musical interludes, and lyric poetry. To some extent, they are led by a third character, Croak, who, as the name suggests, exists somewhere in between sound and sense. The lyrical nature of this short piece ranges from the melancholic to the gently comic.This play is often understood as being "about" the agonizing difficulties of the creative process itself.

03 Rough For Radio I 15 minutes

(1961: published in English as Sketch for Radio Play, 1976)Rough for Radio I is a radio play that uses music to explore the isolation and confinement between a man and woman.

04 Rough For Radio II 25 minutes

(1961: published in English as Rough for Radio in 1976)An Animator, assisted by a Stenographer and the whip wielding mute character, Dick, has the task of eliciting from Fox some unknown testimony of unknown significance. If it could but be achieved then "tomorrow, who knows, we may be free!".

05 Cascando 19 minutes

In this play, an Opener "opens" and "closes" two characters: Voice desperately promises "this time" to tell a story he can finish; and Music equally struggles to create a finished composition. The play increases in intensity but you'll have to tune in to RTÃ? Radio 1 to find out if they manage to finish or not.


06 The Old Tune 25 minutes

The Old Tune is not an original work by Samuel Beckett. It is an adaptation or what could perhaps be best described as the transfer of the original, a radio play entitled La Manivelle by Robert Pinget (*1919), into an Irish idiom. The characters, Cream and Gorman contradict each other continually: Their respective memories of people and incidents are widely diverging, and their efforts to explain away, clear up or at least reduce the differences in their remembrances of things past make up the body of this short play. If one were to isolate a theme it would probably be the unreliability and the progressive decline of human memory with age.


07 All That Fall 65 minutes

Samuel Beckett's first radio play is full of Irish humour and pathos. In it, Maddy Rooney, seventy years old, "two hundred pounds of unhealty fat", makes her laborious way to the Boghill railroad station to meet her blind husband, Dan, as a surprise for him on his birthday. Along the way she meets a comic array of Irish characters. On the retum home, deluged by neighbourhood children and by rain, they keep their spirits up with a lively

banter, sometimes savage, sometimes heart rendering.

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Tags: Radio, Beckett, Rough, Ireland, Samuel, Plays