‘Come and Go’ by Samuel Beckett | Beckett on Film | 2001


Written in English in 1965, this piece has only 121 words in all. Beckett’s note to the text is almost twice as long. Three women meet in a softly lit place. Seated on a bench facing the audience, they reminisce about old school days. Each woman leaves the stage briefly, and during each absence an appalling secret is whispered about the third – which the audience doesn’t hear. At the end the three hold hands with the cryptic comment ‘I can feel the rings’, though Beckett specifies that none are apparent.

‘May we not speak of the old days? [Silence.] Of what came after? [Silence.] Shall we hold hands in the old way?’

– Vi, Come and Go

Running time: 8 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.


A graduate of University College Cork and associate director at the Donmar Warehouse, John Crowleyis an award-winning theatre director. His play True Lineswon the Stewart Parker award for Best New Play in 1995 and he also won the Kilkenny Cream of Ireland Award for Performing Arts for his work on Double Helixin 1996. His recent work includes The Match Seller Girl (Theatre Project Tokyo, Japan), Macbeth for Thelma Holt Productions (Queens Theatre, West End) Juno and the Paycock (Donmar Warehouse and Broadway) and The Turn of the Screw (Welsh National Opera).

I think Come and Go is a perfect piece of writing. It’s all of seven minutes but what he compresses into that is three lifetimes full of sadness.


Anna Massey (Vi) has appeared in numerous and theatre and TV productions including Hotel du Lac (for which she won a BAFTA award for best actress) The Cherry Orchard and The Mayor of Casterbridge. Films include Alfred Hitchcock’s Frenzy, Mad Cows, David Copperfield and The Looking Glass War.

Sian Phillips (Ru) has been acting since childhood and has won numerous awards for her film, TV and theatre performances including the New York Critics’ Award for Goodbye Mr Chips. Films include Dune, Valmont, Clash of the Titansand The Age of Innocence.