Gare St Lazare Players Ireland

Gare St Lazare Players Ireland
An international theatre company based in Ireland and France.

Gare St Lazare Players Ireland is a theatre production company run by director Judy Hegarty Lovett and actor Conor Lovett. The company has in recent years produced a body of work made up mainly of recitations of prose works and novels by the irish writer and nobel laureate Samuel Beckett.

Access All Beckett
The current project consisting of two existing and three new productions is a suite of 5 recitals of classic Beckett prose pieces touring as a package for 2005 and 2006.

The Beckett Trilogy - Molloy, Malone Dies & The Unnamable
Texts for Nothing
Worstward Ho

by Gerry Dukes (MIC Research Fellow 2003-2004)

The internationally renowned and innovative theatre company Gare St Lazare, with the support of Calder Publications, is currently preparing a suite of Beckett’s incomparable prose texts, chosen from across the canon of his works, for recital on stage.

Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable
These three novels, written in French between 1947 and 1950, finally appeared in Beckett’s English translation in one volume in 1959. To many readers they constitute the very core of Beckett’s achievement as a prose writer. The three novels are written as first-person narratives so they lend themselves to performance or recital very readily. The only real editorial problem that has to be faced is one of selection from the great wealth of material here deployed. That material carries all of Beckett’s celebrated signature effects – rhetorical shapeliness, scabrous wit, poetic lyricism, shocking crudity and piercing insight. As we move successively through the three novels we are presented with characters who are increasingly immobilised, who have fewer and fewer resources but who struggle mightily “to go on” with living, with dying.
The Gare St Lazare version, featuring Conor Lovett, has been in creative evolution for some time and has toured extensively.

Beckett wrote this short prose work in French, under the title Sans in 1969. His English translation appeared the following year in the New Statesman. In this strange, experimental text, Beckett employs an aleatory method to arrange his text, “first in one disorder, then in another,” as he said himself. It is composed of six “families” of ten sentences each, giving sixty sentences in all. Beckett then constructed a “Montage” of twelve paragraphs, each one having no fewer than three and no more than seven of the sentences. He then randomly selected the sixty sentences to fit this grid and, having done so, repeated the process a second time. The resulting text, unsurprisingly, has only residual narrative drive but has extraordinary evocative power, denying and affirming past and future, registering the capacity of the imagination to imagine its own extinction.
Lessness was first performed at the Kilkenny Arts Festival by Olwen Fouéré in 2002.

Texts for Nothing
Beckett wrote these thirteen texts in French between December 1950 and December 1951. He said that the texts were “the grisly afterbirth of L’Innommable” but then he was always given to disparaging his own work. They appeared piecemeal in English starting in 1959 and did not appear collected together until 1967. It is best to regard these texts as meditations or essays – in the French sense of that term – attempts to come to some conclusion or determination. They are not in any real sense narratives but rather self-interrogations, though Beckett is very sparing in his use of the question mark. Some of the texts feature landscapes or settings that are recognisably Irish – the Harcourt Street to Bray train line, the Featherbed mountains. Occasional glimpses of Irish characters are given, for example in Text III: “The sport of kings is our passion, the dogs too, we have no political opinions, simply limply republican. But we have a soft spot for the Windsors, the Hanoverians, I forget, the Hohenzollerns is it.” Equally there are fragmentary recollections of places and people in London and Paris. In Text VI there is a particularly poignant memory of a shaving-mirror that his father used and that was later used in another house by his mother when she fixed her hair with “twitching hands.”
The thirteen Texts are distinguished by great rhythmical variety and stylistic variation, from the colloquial and lyrical to the labyrinthine and dense. Nevertheless each Text relentlessly questions the reliability of language and the nature of self.

This prose piece was first published as Assez in French in 1966 and in English the following year. It is a retrospective narrative by a narrator of deliberately indeterminate gender who tells of his/her companionship with an older man which began when the narrator was about six years old. For years they travelled on foot together, hand in gloved hand because the old man could not bear the touch of flesh. The old man was so bent over that his head swept the flowers as the two ascended a steep incline. He had to resort to a pocket mirror if he wanted to inspect the stars, though the narrator records that the old man thought the “sky seemed much the same.” Four times the narrator alludes to parting from the old man at “the scene of my disgrace.” This conclusive event took place at a crest but the account says the pair were never in the mountains. No reason is given for the “disgrace” nor is an inkling given of the narrator’s subsequent life. This is one of Beckett’s most enigmatic and ambiguous prose texts, contriving to be abstract and crudely literal at the same time.

Worstward Ho
This is Beckett’s penultimate extended prose piece in English, completed in 1982 and first published the following year. He attempted to translate it into French but gave up, saying the piece was “untranslatable,” an uncharacteristic admission from one of the great linguists of the twentieth century. His long-time friend Edith Fournier published a fine French translation in 1991, Cap au pire, three years after his death.
The piece runs to ninety-six paragraphs of varying length, the last one containing a sentence of a mere three words. “On” is the first word in the piece and it is also the last. The first “on” has the force of an imperative verb whereas the final has been scaled back, reined back to the adverbial or merely prepositional. It is a late text in the canon but it is also Beckett’s most sustained testing of the resources of his native language, operating at the outermost margins of intelligibility. Its point of origin is surely Edgar’s aside in Shakespeare’s King Lear: “The worst is not/ So long as we can say, “This is the worst.”” In the fourth paragraph the text announces its intention: “No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” This it proceeds to do, coining neologisms, wrenching syntax, worsening and lessening to “the meremost minimum” where the most acute attention is needed to engage with its dark music.

Gerry Dukes, MIC Research Fellow 2003-2004.


Conor Lovett
Conor trained at Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris and has been with Gare St Lazare Players since 1991 and has performed in The Homecoming, Requiem for a Heavyweight, Bouncers, Waiting for Godot, Marie and Bruce, The Possibilities, The Dumb Waiter and The Three Legged Fool. He first performed Molloy by Samuel Beckett at Battersea Arts Centre London in 1996 and has since presented the work in over 100 venues. He has performed with Dublin’s Gate Theatre on their Beckett Festival and in their signature production of Waiting for Godot directed by Walter Asmus which toured to China in May 2004. Other Beckett roles include Lucky & Vladimir in Waiting for Godot, Hamm in Endgame, The Speaker in A Piece of Monologue, Bem in What Where, The Man in Act Without Words 1, B in Rough for Theatre 1 and B in Act Without Words 2. For film he has appeared in Moll Flanders directed by Pen Densham, Intermission directed by John Crowley and Shut Eye directed by Jon Tompkins. For television he has appeared in the 3rd series of Father Ted. Texts For Nothing represents Conor’s ninth collaboration with Judy Hegarty Lovett.

Judy Hegarty Lovett
Judy has a degree in Performance Art/Mixed Media from The Crawfrord College of Art & Design in Cork and a post graduate diploma in Dramatherapy from the University of Hertfordshire (UK). As an undergraduate in Cork she worked as a photographer and set designer with a number of Cork theatre companies. In 1991 she joined Gare St Lazare Players as an assistant to Artistic Director Bob Meyer. She has directed Bouncers by John Godber, The Possibilities by Howard Barker, The Dumb Waiter by Harold Pinter and most recently Swallow by Michael Harding. Her Beckett directing credits include Waiting for Godot and Rockaby as well as the recitals of Access All Beckett. Judy and Conor have been asked by RTE Radio to produce the 7 radio plays that Samuel Beckett wrote for broadcast during the 2006 Centenary of the writer’s birth.

Olwen Fouere
One of Ireland’s most respected actresses Olwen’s career spans 25 years which have seen her perform the classic repertoire as well as new and experimental works. She has played on all the main stages in the country including the Abbey and The Gate and has worked several times with The Royal National Theatre of Great Britain. Olwen has performed and collaborated on several pieces by artist James Coleman which continue to be exhibited internationally. She is co-director, with composer Roger Doyle, of the music based theatre company Operating Theatre . Among the directors she has worked with are Ben Barnes, Patrick Mason, John Crowley, Garry Hynes and Steven Berkoff for whom she created the title role in Salome. She played the title role in The Mai by Marina Carr. In summer 2004 Olwen will tour in The Abbey’s centenary production of The Playboy of The Western World.

Artistic Director : Judy Hegarty-Lovett

For information on Access All Beckett and International Touring.
Contact Maura O'Keeffe, 86 Rialto Court, Dublin 8.
Tel/Fax +353 1 4539179
Mobile + 353 87 2234201

About Gare St Lazare Players

Touring Policy.
The company rehearses either in Cork or in Mericourt, France and tends to tour Ireland and then internationally. In recent years the company has played in Germany, Holland, Israel, Spain, UK and the USA. Molloy by Samuel Beckett has played over 100 venues worldwide.

Gare St Lazare Players is an international company based simultaneously in Ireland and France with workshop/rehearsal facilities outside Paris. The company was founded in Chicago by Bob Meyer in 1983 and moved to France in 1988. Judy Hegarty Lovett and Conor Lovett have been running the Irish operation since 1995. In 2003 Jim Ortlieb presented the first West Coast Gare St Lazare productions with a double-bill in Los Angeles.

Molloy CD
An audio recording of Gare St Lazare Players’ production of Molloy. Performed by Conor Lovett and directed by Judy Hegarty Lovett.
USA $25 Europe 25 euros. UK 20 pounds. (includes shipping)
The CD can be purchased by mail order while we await the full website with credit card facility. Please e-mail for details.

Production History
Enough by Samuel Beckett (National Gallery of Ireland 2004)
Swallow by Michael Harding (Hugh Lane Gallery 2003)
Behold Me Large (Dublin Fringe 2003)
Lessness by Samuel Beckett (Kilkenny Arts Festival 2002)
The Beckett Trilogy (Molloy, Malone Dies & The Unnamable) by Samuel Beckett (Kilkenny Arts Festival, 2001)
Malone Dies by Samuel Beckett (Kilkenny Arts Festival 2000)
Marie and Bruce by Wallace Shawn (Irish Tour, Dublin 2000)
The Three Legged Fool by Anthony Ryan (Dublin Fringe 1999)
Molloy by Samuel Beckett (Battersea Arts Centre 1996)
Premieres listed only.

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