Me, Beckett and Aye…

By Donald C Stewart

I can’t stand the work of Samuel Beckett.

There I said it.

Make me an artistic pariah if you want but I don’t care.

This week I may have had an epiphany because I suddenly got an insight into his work that hitherto I had never had.

I have not seen Touretteshero or any work by Jess Thom but this week on the BBC iplayer, I watched, Me, My Mouth and I, where we watch this remarkable actor preparing for her performance of Becket’s Not I and I decided this week to review it.

But it’s a film and not a performance, so I didn’t.

We do get some of the performance at the end where the ticks and the Tourette’s do make an appearance, and it is an astonishing feat to watch.

Described as a play that was the outpouring of an Irish woman of age 60 ish or 70 ish who has not had an opportunity to speak properly, there was something incredible about Thom, who is far from her 60’s or 70’s and her approach is more than worthy of watch. She goes to Dublin for research, talks of how she ended up in an acting career – an astonishing and heartbreaking story – and of the issues around her inability to control the ticks.

Nothing is spared.

We see her fitting and we see the rehearsal interrupted by the outbursts she lives with and, this changed my perspective. I suddenly could see what Becket was trying to do. Or what I can do with my ambivalence and place it somewhere far more positive than I had hitherto found it lurking.

I am a long way from deciding to put on Waiting for Godot but what a surprise to be sitting writing this – thanks Jess…