Ill Seen Ill Said & Not I
By Samuel Beckett, directed by Erik Ehn
presented by The Wilbury Group’s Studio W
Ill Seen Ill Said is a late work from Samuel Beckett that paints a haunting picture of an old woman alone in a cabin, who watches the evening and the morning star and ventures out chiefly to visit a grave. In prose of great poetic beauty, which the author translated from his original French text Mal vu mal dit in 1982, Beckett returns to the imagery of the Old and New Testaments to speculate on the great questions of human existence. Not I is an eloquent and haunting short play that has been hailed as a masterpiece of its genre and is most well-known for it’s striking image of a floating mouth in absolute darkness. Employing a stream of consciousness technique, it combines seemingly disjointed fragments of memory and poetic resonances into a rich and revealing mosaic of the longings, doubts, and frailties underlying the human condition.
In addition to performances of Ill Seen Ill Said & Not I, this production will feature conversations with artists on the topic of “Knowing”; that is, getting to know something without dispelling it’s mystery. Scheduled guests are Jeff Prystowsky (2/23), Angela Howard-McParland, Janet Cooper Nelson, and Noah Bragg (2/24), Paul Myoda (2/25), and Brien Lang (2/26).
Ill Seen Ill Said & Not I are presented by The Wilbury Group’s new works development program Studio W, through special arrangement with Georges Borchardt, Inc. on behalf of the Estate of Samuel Beckett, and support from Dramatists Guild Foundation and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts.
ABOUT ERIK EHN
Erik Ehn is an American playwright and director known for proposing the Regional Alternative Theatre movement. His work includes The Saint Plays, Heavenly Shades of Night Are Falling, Maria Kizito, No Time Like the Present, Wolf at the Door, Tailings, Beginner, Ideas of Good and Evil, an adaptation of Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, and 10,000 Things, which received it’s world premiere production at The Wilbury Theatre Group in October 2016. He is an artistic associate at San Francisco’s Theatre of Yugen, most recently writing Crazy Horse for them, which combined Noh forms with Native American music and dance. His plays have been produced in Providence (The Wilbury Theatre Group), San Francisco (Intersection, Thick Description, Yugen), Seattle (Annex, Empty Space), Austin (Frontera), New York (BACA, Whitney Museum), San Diego (Sledgehammer), Chicago (Red Moon), and elsewhere; he has a longstanding collaborative relationship with the Undermain Theater in Dallas. He is co-founder of the Tenderloin Opera Company in San Francisco and Providence and the former dean of theater at CalArts, the California Institute of Arts. Today he is head of playwriting and professor of theatre and performance studies at Brown University.