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August 12, 2017

Krapp performances that stick in the mind | Letters

via The Guardian

Readers recall seeing Max Wall and an angry French actor as the eponymous character in Samuel Beckett’s one-act-play Krapp’s Last Tape

Congratulations to Michael Billington for capturing the spirit of Max Wall, who starred in Krapp’s Last Tape at Greenwich in 1975 (Why Krapp’s Last Tape leaves us reeling, 10 August). Almost 10 years later I directed a South Bank Show documentary with Max, who played the role again for our cameras. During the filming we met Samuel Beckett and he gave us permission to film the play on location for the first time. Max’s stressing of the word “spool” came from his variety act as Professor Wallofski, who was about to give us a recital on the pianoforte and couldn’t fine the stool to sit on. He elongated the word “spool” in our film too.
Paul Foxall
Collingbourne Ducis, Wiltshire

• I would like to add to Michael Billington’s tally of memorable performances of Krapp’s Last Tape. Mine was in the early 1970s, in Paris. The studio was small, stuffy, dark and cramped. Everyone was just a few feet from the actor. Although a French speaker, I had to concentrate quite hard. I was suddenly brought out of myself by an angry aside from the actor, admonishing the audience to keep quiet. Later I went back to the script to reassure myself that this indeed came from the actor, rather than from Beckett himself.
Val Mainwood
Wivenhoe, Essex

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