Written in French in 1956, Act Without Words II is a 10-minute mime involving two players, ‘A’ and ‘B’, who are in two large sacks on the stage. Beckett specified ‘violent’ lighting and extended the notion by having the players prodded into action by a ‘goad’. A is ‘slow, awkward and absent’ whereas B is ‘brisk, rapid, precise’. A emerges slowly to set about his banal routine. Dishevelled and sulky, he eventually undresses and re-enters the sack. At this point, the goad prods B into action. He embarks on a more complicated routine, checking his watch and moving briskly to relocate the sacks on the stage before retiring back to his own sack. The goad, now on two wheels, awakens A and the cycle continues.
‘This mime should be played on a low and narrow platform at back of stage, violently lit in its entire length, the rest of the stage being in darkness. Frieze effect.’
–Act Without Words II
Running time: 11 minutes
The Beckett on Film project includes all 19 plays of Samuel Beckett, considered the most significant Irish playwright of the 20th century. Many of these outstanding filmed productions have received critical acclaim at prestigious international film festivals around the world including New York, Toronto and Venice.
Director and writer Enda Hughes‘s film credits include: The Eliminator (1996), which Enda wrote, produced and directed, and was named Film of the Year by the Irish Times; Flying Saucer Rock & Roll (1997), an award-winning short film (Best Fantasy Short – San Sebastian, Best European Short Film – Brussels); and Comm-Raid on the Potemkin, a 3-minute film for Planet Wild and Channel 4. Enda Hughes has also made 15 other short films. He has his own production company, Cousins Pictures, which he runs with his brother Michael.
‘Beckett was so concerned with form that I think he would have employed the mechanics of film in the same inventive way that he employed lighting and the stage itself – as presences, even characters in the drama. That’s what I wanted to try and do myself.’
– Enda Hughes
Pat Kinevane (‘A’) has worked extensively in all the major theatres in Ireland. His credits include the Gate Theatre productions of As You Like It, Waiting for Godot, She Stoops to Conquer, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the Abbey Theatre productions of By The Bog of Cats, and Dancing at Lughnasa (which toured Australia), among many others. He also performed in Act Without Words II, Not Iand What Where at the 1999 Beckett Festival at the Barbican Centre in London. His film work includes Paula Bergin’s The Countess Cathleen, Peter Hayes’ Run of the Country, John Boorman’s I Once had a Life, and Jim McBride’s Johnny Loves Suzy.
The theatre work of Marcello Magni (‘B’) includes Honest Whores (Shakespeare’s Globe); King Lear (Leicester Haymarket, the Young Vic and in Tokyo); and Mother Courage (No. 1 Tour, the New Ambassador and the US Spoleo Festival). He is a founder member of Theatre de Complicite, where his credits include The Winter’s Tale; The Visit; and The Phantom Violin among many others. His film credits include Wet and Dry; Brief Encounter and Pinocchio. He has also appeared in many television productions, including BBC’s Burning Ambition and Channel 4’s Peter and the Wolf and Anything for a Quiet Life; among many others.