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Beckett Mabou Mines, Double Bill (1974)



Founded in 1970, Beckett Mabou Mines (now Mabou Mines), was a collective of actors who sought to define and interpret the works of Samuel Beckett, as well as that of their own, in a way that coerced the audience into a state of contemplation. From the beginning, their performances were indescribable; the byproduct of a family of actors who sought to capture moments with their skills as not just thespians, but as dancers, mimes, composers, and warriors.

They endeavored to learn and grow together; making decisions as a unit. This democratic approach affected the way that they these nomadic actors performed, what they produced, and where they would do so. While it was not uncommon for actors of the era to approach the art of the stage in such a way that it merged with the everyday life, this group was unique in its efforts to encourage each other collectively; making competition within the troupe obsolete.

Taking much inspiration from Beckett, they would go on to perform eight of his works; six of which were not initially written for theater. In this 1974 recording, two of those eight are performed; a feat in and of itself, as there is very little documentation of their original productions to date. The first performance is The Lost Ones, which is followed by Cascando; both of which have original scores written and performed by composer, Philip Glass. At the interval, Rick Harris interviews some of its founding members, including; David Warrilow, Linda (Hartinian) Wolfe, Bill Raymond, Ellen McElduff, Fred Newmann, and JoAnne Akalaitis.

Originally published in French, Beckett completed The Lost Ones in 1970, after a four year hiatus. He gave Mabou Mines his blessing to do a reading of the piece, which ultimately resulted in a full blown production. The story takes places in a variation of hell. In this instance, hell is a flattened, narrow, dimly lit, cylinder. The bodies within the space are left to roam around, habitually searching for its lost one (and are destined to perpetually bump against each other).There is little plot in the story itself and the prose is rather sparse. The main character is not a person, in so much as it is the physical limitations of the space itself.

Cascando was a play by Beckett, intended for radio. As the cylinder incited the story in The Lost Ones, so might one argue that the mind and its “voice” is the protagonist in this play. Vocality determines the direction of the play. As some say, the conclusion of the work is found when language is extinguished. With characters quite literally called Opener, Voice, Woburn, and Music; the story is a near dialog for a writer suffering from writers block. Wherein, the mind is a house that needs to be de-cluttered.
 

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A unparalleled collection of recovered and restored programs from the seventies produced by Charles Ruas for WBAI-FM, New York's Pacifica station. It features reading, lectures, and performances by such cultural and literary icons as Allen Ginsberg, John Giorno, Anaïs Nin, William Boroughs, Buckminster Fuller, Sylvia Plath, Pablo Neruda, and Jorge Luis Borges, among numerous others. Ruas is the author of Conversations with American Writers, a Fulbright scholar, and a distinguished French translator. He is also a contributor to ARTNews and Art in America. This series is produced in partnership with Charles Ruas, The Pacifica Radio Archives, The Yale Beinecke Library, The Columbia University Rare Book & Manuscript Collection, and numerous restorers, archivists and collectors.
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