Eh Joe

Opened 27 June 2006, Closed 15 July 2006 at the Duke of York's Theatre

A new stage adaptation of Samuel Beckett's TV play Eh Joe in London starring Michael Gambon.

"There's love for you. isn't it Joe?... wasn't it Joe?... anyone living love you now, Joe?" Samuel Beckett wrote Eh Joe for television in the spring of 1965 and it was first broadcast in English by the BBC in the summer of 1966, although a German version of Eh Joe had been broadcast some months before this.

The cast for Eh Joe in London stars Michael Gambon as 'Joe' with the 'Woman's Voice' provided by Penelope Wilton on a pre-recorded soundtrack. Conceived and directed for the stage by Atom Egoyan with designs by Eileen Diss, costumes by Leonore McDonagh, lighting by Jim McConnell and projection equipment is by XL Video. This production comes into London's West End for a strictly limited run following a successful season at The Gate Theatre in Dublin in Aprill 2006 when it was presented as part of the Beckett Centenary Festival.

Please Note: The total running time is 30 minutes with no interval. There are two shows, at 7.00pm and 8.30pm, each evening from Tuesday to Saturday.

A note regarding the staging of Eh Joe: The following contains minor spoilers - Michael Gambon, who plays the role of 'Joe', is on the stage for the entire performance although he does not speak. The entire front of the stage is covered with a transparent guaze which fills the proscenium arch. Behind this is the set. Following the opening scene, the general stage lights dim so that just a large spotlight picks out Michael Gambon who is now sitting on a bed, sideways to the audience. A live camera projection of Michael Gambon, taken from the side of the stage and showing him 'face-on', is then projected onto the front stage guaze. The audience therefore sees both a side view of Michael Gambon on the left hand side, and on the right, a large live projection of Michael Gambon's face. The pre-recorded voice of Penelope Wilton is then played to which Michael Gambon listens to and, in some ways, reacts to.

"This must be the greatest half-hour in theatrical history: a Beckett television piece translated by the film director Atom Egoyan into something resembling a living Rembrandt... The voice is Penelope Wilton's, the face Michael Gambon's. The great Gambon says nothing, and gives the performance of his life." The Sunday Times

"Beckett purists might object to this, since the script calls for near-impassivity.They might also detect too much colour inWilton's reading of the text.With actors this good, though, it shouldn't be a problem, and in this case Beckett's famously picky estate - which is known for cracking down on less than absolute fidelity to the master's instructions - has made the right decision. Gambon makes a terrific Joe, and it's good to hear the play's spookily poetic phrasing rasp out of the speakers in front of a live audience." The Sunday Telegraph

"There is no problem seeing Michael Gambon in Beckett's Eh Joe. A huge image of his face is projected on to the stage as he hears inside his head the disembodied voice (Penelope Wilton) of a former lover, reproaching him for crushing the life out of those who loved him. Gambon says nothing, but every minute quiver on this big, baggy, infinitely expressive face, every tiny flicker of his beautiful piano fingers, speaks volumes. A very short dark night of the soul, but exquisitely illuminated." The Mail on Sunday

"Eh Joe is a rare bit of Beckett: what he called 'peephole art'. Written for telly in 1965, it's an early video diary, an accusatory soliloquy... Michael Gambon's mug - all folds, pockets, grooves, troughs, pouches - is a theatre in itself. The slightest narrowing of the eyes, or settling of the jowls, looks volcanic. Atom Egoyan's production lasts half an hour: it crams in a guilty lifetime." The Observer

Eh Joe in London at the Duke of York's Theatre opened on 27 June 2006 and closed on 15 July 2006.