On Krapp's Last Tape

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Krapp's Last Tape – Samuel Beckett : A Play Review

Last Thursday, members of the IB theatre classes attended the production of two one-act plays. Both seemed to incorporate the ideas of black comedy which is a sub-genre of comedy and satire where topics and events which are usually treated seriously are treated in a humours and satirical manner. In this case, Lady Grey finds humour in rape and the sadness of lonelihood while Krapp's Last Tape seems to satirize madness and sadness. With this central style in mind it is easier to understand the plays and see where the actors and director, Philip McKee had to go with this one. The action of Krapp's Last Tape occurs on a "late evening in the future" in the title character's den. More importantly, the play takes place on Krapp's sixty-ninth birthday. Every year since he was twenty four, Krapp a would be writer who has failed as such has recorded his impressions of the previous year and then catalogued the resulting tape's number and contents in a ledger, which he keeps locked away. The play depicts Krapp listening to a tape from thirty years ago and then the recording of this year's tape. This particular play will probably strike most first time viewers, which it did to me, as odd and unsettling. The director, McKee kept the play very conservative; there is a minimal set, no dramatic lighting cues, nothing that a traditional theatre-goer would call a traditional plot and only one character, a character who only communicates with a tape recording of himself 30 years removed. However, since this play seems so absurd, the director and actor was able to make the play as unbelievable as it was. That is not to say that the play was great in any stretch, but rather unbelievable because of this absurdist mentality and weird style of writing; yet the actor and director are able to patently get the images and ideas conveyed to the audience quite well. As the man who played Krapp, Andrew Mussellman, had once said to our...
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