Company SJ looks to fuse performance and research as an active artistic engagement between the two, presenting the work of Irish playwrights and in particular Samuel Beckett from and for a 21st century Ireland.
Sarah Jane Scaife
Having directed and lectured on Beckett’s drama for many years throughout Asia (India, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Georgia, Mongolia, Japan), in Europe (Scotland, England, Greece and Denmark) and in New York, Sarah Jane began to feel submerged in his writing all around her on the streets of Dublin.
In 2009 Company SJ began the project Beckett in the City, which aims to re-insert the writing of Samuel Beckett into the social and architectural spaces of the city of Dublin. Actors Raymond Keane and Bryan Burroughs and designer Aedin Cosgrove were integral to the initial creation of this project. Company SJ have presented all of the Beckett in the City series in association with the Dublin Fringe Festivals (both Absolut and Tiger) and with the ongoing support of Irish Theatre Institute. They have received funding and support for the project from: Dublin City Council, The Arts Council, Culture Ireland and the Office of Public Works. Although begun in 2009 with the placement of Act Without Words II on the street in Dublin, there are now three distinct productions in the Beckett in the City series.
Beckett in the City: Rough For Theatre I & Act Without Words II, 2013
It is from a very particular Irish experience that Company SJ has received many invitations to present Beckett in the City, both nationally and on the international stage. Firstly playing Act Without Words II in Dublin’s Fringe (2009), Dublin Theatre Festival (2010) London at the Gatwick and Greenwich Arts Festivals (2011) New York’s River to River Festival and Limerick’s Unfringed (2012), Enniskillen’s Happy Days Festival (2013), the Abbey Theatre (2013) and then with the companion piece Rough For Theatre I as a Beckett Installation, for the 2013 Dublin Fringe Festival, in Japan in June 2014, where the two pieces were presented as the special event for the exhibition Godot on Rubble: Beckett and Catastrophe, at The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum, Waseda University, Tokyo, and most recently in London for the Barbican Beckett Festival in June 2015.
Beckett in the City: Fizzles (2014)
In 2014 Company SJ presented Beckett in the City: Fizzles, utilizing both an abandoned Victorian power station and a Georgian house on Dublin’s oldest Georgian Street, Henrietta Street. Once again Raymond Keane featured as the performing body and voice in this filmic and architectural installation piece based on Beckett’s prose piece Fizzles. Video design by Kilian Waters, sound recording and design by Tim Martin and lighting design by Paul Keogan were all developed and created within these two buildings.
Beckett in the City: The Women Speak (2015)
In 2015, using the same aesthetic tools of body, site, history, projection, sound, costume and light Company SJ presented their third piece in the series, Beckett in the City: The Women Speak. This production featured Not I, Footfalls, Rockaby and Come and Go. Filmed imagery of the three female performers, Bríd Ní Neachtain, Michele Forbes and Joan Davis taken in the historic building of Colaiste Mhuire was projected onto the walls and spaces of the abandoned building Halla Banba, site of the National Ballroom, (both in Parnell Square). An installation was created utilizing the four dramas, the projected imagery and text, and the historical and architectural site of both buildings. The project interrogated the role of, and placing of women within the constitutional and cultural history of Ireland’s past and present.
Sarah Jane Scaife received her doctorate on Samuel Beckett from The University of Reading under the supervision of Professor Anna McMullan. Company SJ was founded in 2009 by Sarah Jane Scaife and Producer Polly O’Loughlin.