The Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival is the world’s first annual festival to celebrate the work and influence of Nobel Prize-winning writer Samuel Beckett. It takes place annually in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, where Beckett spent his formative years attending Portora Royal School. Irleand’s only Island town, Enniskillen, is at the heart of the Fermanagh Lakelands, amidst some of the most beautiful landscape in Europe.
Together with the Irish Museum of Modern Art’s National Programme, the Festival presents Neil Jordan‘s adaptation for film of the Samuel Beckett play Not I at the Masonic Lodge, Enniskillen from 26 – 28 June and from 21 – 26 August 2013. Neil Jordan filmed his interpretation, which is 13 minutes in duration, from multiple angles in long, complete, 13-minute takes, since the piece only reveals itself through the pressure and physical demands of the uninterrupted performance of the text. Realising that each take had its own integrity Jordan developed his original film version into a multi-screen installation in which Moore’s mouth appears on six screens arranged in a circular configuration.
Jordan describes the process: “We had these enormous two-thousand foot film rolls and we filmed Julianne from different perspectives. They all were a different record of the same event…each angle was also the complete version…If I could pull them all into one synch 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. Artists have long engaged themselves in a dialogue with the grammar and aesthetics of cinema, but the dialogue has rarely gone the other way. And Beckett’s luminous piece could be presented in a context that was neither cinema nor theatre, but something different”.
Not I is part of a unique and ambitious project, Beckett on Film, the brain-child of Michael Colgan, Director of the Gate Theatre, in which each of Becketts’s 19 plays were committed to film in 2000-2001. Each had a different film director, charged with adapting the demands of Beckett’s plays to film while adhering to his exacting stage directions. Not I was adapted for film by Neil Jordan as part of the project and donated to IMMA in 2001.
The Beckett Festival consists of writers influenced by Beckett, contemporary art installations responding to Beckett’s work, classical music pieces that he loved and which influenced his own work, comedy, circus & mime as well as presentations of the author’s main plays, short plays and short prose. The programme also has a fun sports programme titled ‘Bend it like Beckett’ acknowledging Samuel Beckett’s love and skill in various sports while attending the Portora Royal School 1920-23.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a published text of Neil Jordan in conversation with Christina Kennedy, Head of Collections, IMMA.
The 2013 Happy Days International Beckett Festival dates are 22-26 August.
This exhibition is kindly supported by the Department of Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht