An experience of Beckett’s play through headphones in promenade.
First broadcast in 1963, Cascando begins with the curious character Opener (Daniel Reardon) setting the scene: the month of May, a time of “reawakening”. The Opener commands two other presences: the winding Voice (Andrew Bennett) caught between arrest (” – stories … if you could finish it …”) and progress (“- nearly … just a few more … a few more”), and Music (designed by Jimmy Eadie), whole and forceful.
Director Gavin Quinn, dramaturg Nicholas Johnson and designer Aedín Cosgrove recognise this as a journey. The audience are sent walking in an outdoor landscape, wearing cloaks and listening to the play on headphones. The unhurried pace of Bennett’s deep and riveting voice provides a rhythm for our steps, as we listen to Voice’s struggle to tell a story. The absent figure named Woburn is identified by his “same old coat” and vague memories of a cave or shelter. As the same-dressed audience pass each other in the dark surroundings, it appears that images of the text have been slyly extracted. Has the audience been unknowingly cast as the play’s mystifying wanderer?
Along this journey, the tremendous pulse of Eadie’s music threatens to overwhelm. It rises in a wave of crashing strings, eventually settling to ring, pining, with Voice’s efforts. If you suspected that Woburn’s journey resembled a pilgrimage, Reardon’s sullen Opener somewhat confirms it, suggesting God and a parable: “two outings and a return, to the village, to the inn”.
Director – Gavin Quinn
Designer – Aedín Cosgrove
Sound and Composition – Jimmie Eadie
Dramaturg – Nicholas Johnson
Opener – Daniel Reardon (Voice Recording)
Voice – Andrew Bennett (Voice Recording)
Photography – Ros Kavanagh and Matthew Andrews
Video – Ros Kavanagh
“The effect: an uplifting sense of freedom, as well as a sense of foreboding. Lifted from the familiarity of‘normal vision and sound,’ one’s imagination and reason collide until there is a fusion between both.”
Sean Hillen, Examiner
“What are we to make of this beautiful but mysterious promenade, sparingly lit by Cosgrove to send light rippling along reflective surfaces. That’s the blessing of Beckett: like prayer, it’s what you believe that’s the thing.”
Chris McCormack, Broadway World Ireland
“Aedín Cosgrove’s lighting choices are spare and subtle but very effective, breathing eerie life into her set and often mingling with Jimmy Eadie’s intimate sound design at just the right time, creating moments of surreal, organic beauty and an atmosphere that feels otherworldly.”
Shane Larkin, No More Workhorse
“Aedín Cosgrove’s labyrinthine construction, curling around corridors of reflective black surfaces, give us ghostly reflections, where her pockets of light reveal shapes briefly, then wane into utter darkness. Look ahead or behind you and you’ll see an indistinguishable column of hooded figures, and the journey to the centre of the set feels more and more penitential. Not for the first time in Beckett, the words seem like a mordant joke on the audience: “we’re there . . . nearly . . . just a few more… It does achieve a near perfect equivalent with it [the play]. It’s how Beckett, the master manipulator of form, would have subverted immersive theatre.”
Peter Crawley, The Irish Times