A new installation directed by Neil Jordan and based on Samuel Beckett’s play for theatre, ‘Not I’, opens to the public at the Irish Museum of Modern Art on Thursday 1 February.
‘Not I’ features an actress seated on stage with just the mouth spotlit. The mouth then delivers a long monologue, a constant stream of consciousness. Evasion is the principle theme as highlighted by Beckett’s explicit note to the text in which the mouth’s chief endeavour throughout the play is its vehement refusal to relinquish the third person. The mouth undergoes a desperate struggle to avoid saying “I” marked by four moments of crisis in which the monologue becomes a dialogic question and answer with an inner voice not heard by the audience.
The installation at IMMA comprises six monitors set out in a circle. The viewer is invited to enter the circle and to experience the delivery of the text from six different angles. This is made possible by the unusual process used in making the original film – in six seperate 13-minute takes with multiple cameras. The film is produced by Blue Angel Films.
Commenting on his reasons for realising the piece in this medium Neil Jordan said: “Having completed the film, I realised I was in a unique situation. I had a series of records of the same event, the same performance, from different angles, each of which had their own integrity. What was unique about them is that they were each complete. Normally in film, one breaks a performance, down to various component parts, each piece of which is shot from its appropriate angle, so the film only exists as a composite of all the different shots. In the case of ‘Not I’, each angle was also the complete version. If I could pull them all into sync and present each angle simultaneously to the viewer, the multiplicity with which cinema presents the world would be accessible to the viewer in a unique manner.”
Neil Jordan’s film career began with the role of creative consultant on John Boorman’s ‘Excalibur’ in 1981, about which he made a documentary extitled ‘The Making of Excalibur – Myth in Movie’. Since then he has made twelve films: ‘Angel'(1982), ‘Company of Wolves'(1984), ‘Mona Lisa'(1986), ‘The Crying Game'(1992) for which he won a Oscar for best screenplay, ‘Interview with the Vampire'(1994), ‘Michael Collins'(1995), which was awarded a Golden Lion for Best Film at the Venice Film Festival, ‘The Butcher Boy'(1996), for which he won a Silver Bear for Direction at the Berlin Film Festival, ‘In Dreams'(1999) and ‘The End of the Affair'(1999) for which he won the BAFTA for Best Adapted Screenplay.
This special showing marks the donation of the piece to the Museum by Neil Jordan and coincides with the Beckett on Film Festival at the IFC, where the film version of all 19 of Samuel Beckett’s plays, including ‘Not I’, will be premiered from 2 to 8 February.
‘Not I’ continues at IMMA until 14 February.
Opening hours: Tue – Sat 10.00am – 5.30pm
Sun, Bank Hols 12noon – 5.30pm
Friday 13 April
For further information and colour and black and white images please contact Philomena Byrne or Monica Cullinane at Tel: +353 1 612 9900,
Fax: +353 1 6129999
26 January 2001
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