Chronology and Photo Gallery
Samuel Beckett — Irish playwright, theatre director, novelist, and poet — is one of the most influential writers of the 20th century and transports his audience to a strange and mysterious world often located at the very brink of death, that “undiscovered country” for which his characters so often yearn. But his works are far from depressing. There is great beauty in the writing and a determination to stare mortality in the face. There is no better guide to the human spirit’s darker depths.
On seeing these plays you may well leave feeling unexpectedly elated, although perhaps scary, a walk through the night can be invigorating. This event marks the culmination of many years of research and performance from CSU’s Center for Studies in Beckett and Performance, the only academic center world-wide devoted to the theatre of Samuel Beckett.
- Come and Go: Three women, three old friends, sit on a bench. They gossip. They whisper. They come and go. They leave us a message. One of Beckett’s briefest and most cryptic plays.
- Rockaby, featuring Wendy Ishii and directed by Laura Jones: An elderly woman rocks in a chair as a distant voice recalls her lifelong search for human contact. One of Beckett’s starkest minimalist works, a study in old age, isolation, and disengagement from life. Haunting and profoundly moving.
- Dieppe (Quatre Poèmes): A dramatized evocation of one of Beckett’s most personal poems. A small premiere, or as they say in the circus, “something never attempted before.”
- Play: One of Beckett’s most chilling yet darkly comic masterpieces. A man, his wife, and his mistress. Another eternal triangle. Eternity. All three are up to their necks in it. Another of Beckett’s plays in which actors are pushed to the very limits of what is possible. A mesmerizing experience.
Award-winning UK/CSU playwright Eric Prince crafts story to showcase talents of Wendy Ishii; Bas Bleu introduces Irish Blue Craic to Fort Collins
With the foundation of a 20-year artistic collaboration to build on, playwright and director Eric Prince and Wendy Ishii – founder and artistic director of Bas Bleu Theatre – have constructed a world premiere production for the Fort Collins theater community. “Bas Bleu is promoting new and original writing that is not available elsewhere,” said Prince, “Helping playwrights develop and refine their works has always been part of Bas Bleu’s mission,” explains Ishii.
Blue Kitchen, which the Liverpool-born Prince wrote to both feature Ishii on stage and to help celebrate Bas Bleu’s 25th anniversary season, tells the story of an Irish-American woman as she wrestles with the meaning of her cultural identity. As Ava, the protagonist, Ishii also explores “a woman’s abiding need to not only give love, but receive love,” Prince said.
July 23 - Aug. 3
A special collaboration between Bas Bleu Theatre, Colo. and the Center for Studies in Beckett and Performance, Colorado State University
Beckett’s Women – Moments from the Plays of Samuel Beckett (European Premiere)
Devised and directed by Eric Prince by kind permission of Edward Beckett and the Samuel Beckett Estate, with Wendy Ishii embodying characters from Happy Days, Footfalls, Not I, Embers, All That Fall, in a remarkable, powerful and unified interpretation, giving presence and voice to the astonishing collective voice of Beckett’s women.
Creative Team: Wendy Ishii, Performer; Price Johnston, Artistic Design, Lighting and Sound; Eric Prince, Director
Eh Joe by Samuel Beckett, “a piece for television”, written with Jack MacGowran, Beckett’s most favored actor, in mind and first broadcast in 1966. This re-visioning of that original broadcast has the needs of a twenty first century audience in mind, yet holds true to Beckett’s singular vision and Beckett’s own direction of that original broadcast.
Creative Team: Price Johnston, Artistic Design, Lighting & Sound;Wendy Ishii, Performer; Eric Prince, Performer and Director
The Happy Days Festival is the world’s first annual festival to celebrate the work and influence of Nobel Prize-winning writer Samuel Beckett. The Festival takes place annually in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, where Beckett spent his formative years attending Portora Royal School. Enniskillen, Ireland’s only Island town, is at the heart of the Fermanagh Lakelands, amidst some of the most beautiful landscape in Europe. The inaugural Happy Days took place 23rd – 27th August 2012 and was the first annual, international, multi-arts festival to be held in Northern Ireland since the launch of the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s in 1962. As with the Edinburgh Festival, Happy Days is a major cultural event bringing diverse communities together, mixing local and international audiences and artists. The festival collaborated with the London 2012 Festival, the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad, and coincided with the 400th anniversary of the founding of Enniskillen. Happy Days is funded by Northern Ireland Tourist Board, Arts Council Northern Ireland and Fermanagh District Council.
Presented by the Center for Studies in Beckett and Performance at CSU and Bas Bleu Theatre. Beckett’s Women with Wendy Ishii: Moments from the Plays of Samuel Beckett* and Eh Joe, Beckett’s first play for television. *Beckett’s Women was devised at the invitation of the Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival (Jul. 23 - Aug. 3, 2015), with the approval of Edward Beckett and the Estate of Samuel Beckett.
A practice as research paper, 3000 words, drawing on archive film made available in the British Library, London, UK, published online by the beckett circle, the Samuel Beckett Society (March 2014).
Colorado State University (Sept. 26, 27, 2013)
A piece for television
- Re-imagined as a staged filmed installation. Presented with an introductory talk by Actor/Director Eric Prince in collaboration with artistic designer, and co-director Price Johnston, and Wendy Ishii, actor and artistic director, Bas Bleu Theatre.
Also staged with talk back at Bas Bleu Theatre Fort Collins (Sept. 29, 2013).
“The production follows Beckett’s text and authorial directions to the letter, particularly so in the adoption of a single camera and its strict sequential and minimalist framing movements. We also adhere to Beckett’s supervised direction of the original filming and MacGowran’s distinctive ending, in which Beckett insists on a significant deviation from his own printed text. Price Johnston’s design artistry captures a genuine sixties television ambiance, right down to the employment of black and white analogue textured filming, but also in a way that might capture the attention and interest of a twenty first century audience.” (Playbill for Eh Joe)
Barcelona, Spain (July 2013)
International Federation for Theatre Research, FIRT/IFTR “Re-Routing Performance”.
A ‘general panel’ paper for the annual conference of the International Federation for Theatre Research FIRT/IFTR Barcelona, “Re-Routing Performance”.
Abstract of the paper published in the proceedings of the conference.
The Existential Stress of Waiting for…God OH. (Prince), Letters page, The New York Times (Nov. 18, 2013).
The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival
Hosted at Colorado State University (Feb. 13-17, 2012).
The Colorado State Thespian Conference
Denver, Colo. (Dec. 8, 2013)
Paper presented to an international, interdisciplinary conference on theatre and human rights, ‘Things Unspeakable: Theatre after 1945’ , University of York, UK (Oct. 2011).
Staged in the University Center for the Arts Studio Theatre as a main season production for CSU Theatre. Originally written in French as Fin de partie, Endgame was Beckett's favorite play or as Beckett himself put it, "the play I dislike least," and regarded by many critics to be his most profound, a dark comic masterpiece. "The end is in the beginning and yet you go on." ~ Hamm, Endgame
Studio Theatre, University Center for the Arts
Not I, arguably the most remorseless test of acting ever conceived for the stage, featuring distinguished Beckett performer Wendy Ishii; What Where, a parable of politics and language - Beckett’s final play, uttering the last words he was to write for the stage; Sisters, a new play by Eric Prince, a tale of innocence, disrupted childhood, and the supernatural, created in the spirit of Beckett specifically for this event.
Presented by the Center for Studies in Beckett and Performance in collaboration with Bas Bleu Theatre Company and CSU Theatre. Under the umbrella title of The Beckett Project, Dr. Laura Jones directed Happy Days, featuring Wendy Ishii as Winnie, produced by Bas Bleu Theatre Company with a panel of respondents comprising Linda Ben-Zvi (Tel Aviv University), Philip Sneed (director of the Colorado Shakespeare Festival), and Eric Prince (director of the Center for Studies in Beckett and Performance). Professor James Knowlson also returned to Fort Collins as an invited guest respondent and speaker. Four Beckett plays, Rough for Theatre II; Play; A Piece of Monologue; and an adaptation of the short story Ill Seen Ill Said, were also staged in the Studio Theatre at CSU with a student and faculty company, and with production responses from Dr. Knowlson and Dr. Ben-Zvi.
Presentation for the Comparative Drama Conference, Los Angeles, Calif.
World Premier of a Spanish/English bilingual production of Beckett's short play Catastrophe, conceived as a multi-media and intercultural event. Directed by Eric Prince, with textual translation and accompanying audio-visual film by CSU Professor Dr. José Luis Suárez-García. Also staged at El Centro Su Teatro, Denver, and at Bas Bleu Theatre, Fort Collins. Produced in collaboration with Colorado State University El Centro for National Hispanic Heritage Month and with the support of the Bohemian Foundation of Fort Collins.
Presentation of a paper and lecture/demonstration on directing Beckett's solo pieces for women for the full congress of the 50th Annual International Federation for Theatre Research Conference held at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa.
Dr. Laura Jones assisted Linda Ben Zvi in conducting the Beckett Focus Group during the celebration of the centenary of Samuel Beckett, hosted by the School of Drama at Trinity College in Dublin.
Linda Ben Zvi (Tel Aviv University), hosted by CSU's Center for Studies in Beckett and Performance in partnership with Bas Bleu Theatre, April 2005. Linda Ben Zvi is the first woman president of the International Beckett Society, and an emerita professor in English at Colorado State University.
The inaugural production for the new University Theatre thrust stage and the opening of the Bohemian Complex for the University Center for the Arts at Colorado State University on Nov. 3, 2005.
A conference paper for the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR/FIRT), Alexandrinksy Theatre and Saint Petersburg Academy of Theatre Arts, Russia.
A critical review essay for the Journal of Beckett Studies, Vol. 11 No. 2 , Florida State University Press.
A conference paper of the Samuel Beckett International Symposium, University of Western Sydney.
A conference paper for the International Federation of Theatre Research (IFTR/FIRT), University of Amsterdam.
Conceived and directed by Eric Prince, and staged as a collaborative production with Bas Bleu Theatre, featuring Wendy Ishii as May in Footfalls and Ada in Embers. The production was attended by Professor Knowlson as an audience talkback guest and respondent. "This was one of the best performances I've seen of Footfalls and I've seen some of the great ones." ~ Professor James Knowlson (The Coloradoan).
A special public lecture from the Center's distinguished guest, Professor James Knowlson, emeritus professor of French at Reading University, U.K., author of the definitive Beckett biography "Damned to Fame" (the sole biography to be authorized by Samuel Beckett).