Friday, March 03, 2006

Samuel Beckett

What with this year being the centenary of the birth of Samuel Beckett (13 April 1906 - 22 December 1989) there is quite a lot of Becketterania about. For a good introduction and overview? Try this by Conor McPherson: Chronicles of the human heart. Hereabouts, long-term resident of a little island in the South China Sea, Mike Harley -- that's what it says/said on his Equity card -- is one of the cast in Beckett's play Endgame, which will be performed in April at Hong Kong's Fringe Club.

Performance dates and details to follow.

Ah, Beckett. A year or so ago, I introduced one of Beckett's poems to another theatre group whose home base also happens to be on this little island in the South China Sea: theatre du pif.
Sean and Bonnie used the poem (translated by yours truly) as part of a devised theatre piece preceding Sean's performance of Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. The latter has a really boring website.
Anyway, the poem is one of Beckett's last, and one of my favourites. Beckett wrote most often in French and is, in my view, just as much a French playwright, novelist and poet as he is an Irish one. Here it is:
imagine si ceci
un jour ceci
un beau jour

si un jour
un beau jour ceci
The poem looks simple. But I have seen several translations -- all different! Beckett sometimes even translated his own poems from French to English. In the process, I've noticed he'd occasionally switch the line order, where it suited. I too have followed suit in this my own rendition:
imagine if all this
one fine day
one day all this

if one day
one fine day this

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