Saturday, December 10, 2011

KRAPP'S LAST TAPE • The Black Mirror Theatre Company

Samuel Beckett wrote of his character in KRAPP'S LAST TAPE, "Krapp has nothing to talk to but his dying self and nothing to talk to him but his dead one."  This hour-long, one-act, one-man classic is said to be the closest thing to an autobiography he'd ever written, and its current staging, the second show from the newly founded Black Mirror Theatre Company, is marvelous.  

The space where the show is presented, the Firecracker Press on Cherokee Street, is a graphic design studio and letterpress printshop.  This showroom is filled with handmade posters, stationary, and a ton of other little artistic knick-knacks for sale.  In enlarging Krapp's profession to include printing, this location served as the perfect backdrop.

The play begins with a lovely welcome and introduction by its director, Dennis Corcoran.  The action starts during the introduction, with Krapp (a superb Rob Suozzi) coming out to work on printing our programs in the background.  After this engaging initiation, Krapp slowly moves in and around the audience, turning off lights, putting on his vest, and eating a banana.  It's his sixty-ninth birthday, and after several minutes of quiet business, a weary and unkempt Krapp hauls out several boxes filled with audio recordings and a reel-to-reel tape recorder.  After finally finding the spool he's looking for -- a recording made when he turned thirty-nine, he listens to excerpts.  This has been his ritual -- to listen to his impressions of the past as a younger man, and record new ones on his birthday.  On this reel, he mentions not only that the new light above his table is a great improvement, but that he had also just listened to a recording he'd made when he was in his twenties, and seems to regard his younger self with amusement mixed with scorn.  He recounts his resolution to drink less -- even as Krapp takes breaks, wandering outside his stark circle of light, to go to the back of the room for a healthy swig.  Or two.  The present Krapp seems to regard his thirty-something year-old self in the same way his thirty-something year old self regarded his twenty-something year old self.  Ordinary details, discarded pleasures and past and present aches of Krapp's life are alluded to and expanded upon as his memories unspool on the tape and in person.  I'd really rather not go into the particulars of what he listens to, and proceeds to document making his new recording.  Watching it intimately unfold in front of you is too rewarding to compromise with details.  Just get a ticket.

Rob Suozzi (Krapp)
Rob Suozzi was captivating as Krapp.  This young actor was able to pull off the role of a man in his late sixties, and I was impressed with the way he was able to command our attention with affecting silence -- also a great credit to Beckett's script and Corcoran's direction.  This is a slow moving play, but that's also what makes it so intriguing.  The lighting and costumes, along with that wonderful space, and Dennis Corcoran's invisible direction, all came together seamlessly for a truly cohesive and poignant presentation.

It's only playing until the 17th, so check it out.


Written by Samuel Beckett
Directed by Dennis Corcoran
The Firecracker Press, 2838 Cherokee Street
December 17 | tickets: ( or 314-740-6514): $10 donation at door*
* A portion of the proceeds to benefit the Family Resource Center – “Helping to Keep Kids Safe”
Performances Friday & Saturday at 7pm

Rob Suozzi (Krapp).


  1. Nicely written! I wish I had time to see it.

  2. Thanks, A1! Glad I saw it! Next year -- you and me -- stout...