Company, by Samuel Beckett (Performances, 16th to 20th January)

A man reading a copy of Samuel Beckett's book, Company
Peter Marinker reading from Company by Samuel Beckett. Photo credit: Marco Bernini.

A unique and free opportunity to experience Samuel Beckett’s Company, in the surroundings of the Chapel of the Holy Cross, Durham Cathedral, from January 16th to 20th. This series of experiential audio performances is organised by the Hearing the Voice project.

Both moving and mysterious, Beckett’s Company is the story of a voice that comes ‘to one on his back in the dark’. This voice, which the protagonist can neither verify or name, ‘tells of a past’. In a performance of the text that is at the same time immersive and exploratory, the audience are invited to become the central character in this enigmatic story world.

Marcel Proust, on which Beckett wrote an essay in 1930, defined the experience of lying in bed before falling asleep as a ‘relaxation of consciousness’, sometimes triggered by the reading of a novel. This is a moment in which imagination takes over and the Self becomes liquid, malleable and multiple. Inspired by this liminal image of relaxation, we will ask each member of the audience to lie in one of the nine beds we have placed in the chapel. The illumination will go off, and the voice of Company will address them – synesthetically paired, as Beckett’s text suggests, with a pulsing sourceless light. Imagine.

Performances will take place daily from 16th to 20th January at 3pm, 5pm and 7pm in the darkened Chapel of the Holy Cross. These are free events but places are limited to nine people per performance, so early booking is essential. Reservations via Eventbrite.

Co-directors: Marco Bernini, Mary Robson
Associate Director: Jonathan Heron
Voice: Peter Marinker
Sound design: Martin Hodgson
Lighting design: David Martin

With special thanks to the Samuel Beckett Laboratory at Trinity College Dublin and the Beckett Estate.

Voices, knowledge and ignorance: Reflections on experiences of Company, a roundtable discussion in which Peter Marinker, Jonathan Heron and Marco Bernini join other Beckett specialists to explore their own reactions to the performance, will take place in St Chad’s College Chapel, Durham on 20 January 2017 at 12-2pm. More information about this event and instructions on how to register are available here.

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