By David F. Rooney
Revelstoke’s Robyn Abear and Peter Waters have been invited to perform Krapp’s Last Tape — the play that earned Waters a Best Actor Award at the 2008 Theatre BC One-Act Play Festival — at the Liverpool International Theatre Festival in Nova Scotia. They are the first performers from British Columbia to be invited to the prestigious festival.
Waters is the star of the one-act play and Abear his director and the two are very excited by the invitation.
“We have been very, very conscious of keeping our feet on the ground and not getting too excited,” Waters said in an interview.
However, he said with an excited gleam in his eye. And why not? When Waters first saw a London performance of Samuel Beckett’s existentialist play Krapp’s Last Tape 25 years ago he simply knew he had to play that role some day.
“It was an epiphany for me,” he said.
Never mind that he had given up an early desire to act in order to make money as a trend-setting colour stylist, the play rekindled his desire to act. He banked that flame and let it cool over the years but it was never extinguished. And, eventually, he emigrated from the UK, found himself in Revelstoke and became involved in the Revelstoke Theatre Company. But still the moment hadn’t yet come for him to take the stage in Beckett’s one-man play.
That moment came in 2008 when he played the role of the tormented Krapp on stage here, at the zone festival and again at Mainstage where he won the Award for Best Actor.
That 2008 performance was also Abear’s debut as a director.
“This was going to be my first attempt at directing and it was a one-act play,” she said. “I had studied Beckett in school and I wanted something that was tried and true. The family that controls the rights to Beckett’s work insist that every performance by true to Beckett’s vision so all I had to do was follow the recipe.”
And what a winning recipe it was.
Krapp’s Last tape is a an exploration the dark corners of the human soul. Acted on a minimalist set consisting of nothing more than a desk, a lamp, and old reel-to-reel tape recorder, some carboard boxes and a ledger, Krapp is a near-Shakespearean character and Waters played him perfectly in 2008. Doubtless, he’ll do it again when he and Abear fly to Halifax May 18 for the May 19-23 festival.
The 10-year-old Liverpool International Theatre Festival regularly attracts many of the best directors and actors in North America and Europe. Participants must apply and demonstrate that their work is of sufficient merit to even be considered. Organizers invite only the best directors and actors to the festival. In Abear and Water’s case, they provided excellent references, including media reviews and a letter from Barbara Wheeldon the adjudicator for Theatre BC.
Of Waters she said “his total focus on his performance was brilliant.” And she praised Abear for following “Beckett’s stage directions in close detail.”
This is high praise, indeed.
Krapp’s Last Tape will be performed again here in Revelstoke to help raise money to send Abear and Waters to Nova Scotia. Airfare alone will cost about $2,000 and while they will be staying with families in Liverpool there will doubtless be other expenses. Details regarding one or more fund-raising performances will be announced at a later date.