by Samuel Beckett
Note from Director, Sarah Jane Scaife
When I directed Company way back in 1990, I was concerned with the visual and aural impact the piece had made on me as I read it. Tim Martin recorded and mixed the ‘voice’, which was the last recording made in studio one, Windmill Lane Studios. When I re-visited the piece two years ago, I found myself haunted by the presence and absence of the father within. Perhaps it was because I was experiencing the passing away of my own father that I felt the palpable ache in Beckett’s text. Tim Martin, once again, recorded and mixed ‘the voice’. It was the last recording he made before he passed on this year. The bones of our fathers are laid down in our making and are passed on through us to inhabit the future bones of our children.
I would like to dedicate this production to the memories of my father, William Garrett Scaife and to my husband and collaborator, Tim Martin. Both men were inspirational fathers and are missed greatly by their children.
‘Halted too at your elbow during these computations your father’s shade. In his old tramping rags.’
— From Samuel Beckett’s Company
Directed and Designed
by Sarah Jane Scaife
by Raymond Keane
Consulting & Design
Additional Sound Editing
Lianne O Shea
Supported by The Arts Council, Dublin City Council, Dublin Theatre Festival, Dublin Fringe Festival, Project Arts Centre, Dance House and the Ark, The Samuel Beckett Summer School and The Irish Theatre Institute
Adjunct Lecturer in Drama Studies at UCD
Company SJ is a gift to the life of Beckett’s work. It brings his novella, Company, to audiences and opens the solitude of reading to the co-presence, the imaginative and sensual exchange of live performance. Company circles thoughts and ideas of self, echoes many phrases from Beckett’s plays, novels and poems, touches on the conundrum of time, the imbrication in one space of past and present, gives the world experienced through the senses — a sound, touch, smell, light, taste, interrupting and interrupted by the mind that is “reason-ridden” as Beckett describes it. And ridden by memory — images so luminous that, once heard and imagined, cannot be forgotten.
To be alone, silent, still, stirred towards the other, alert to a world reduced through darkness and unknowing; one’s self, whatever that is, imagines, craving for company.
In these days memories are made by machines: click the image, click and save. Open the family album. I seem to remember those I never met, myself included, swaddled. Run the super 8 reel, the dog long dead still horse-playing, the wedding dvd in spectral motion. How do I remember my father and my mother, or do I remember them chiefly as they are captured in photographs? My memories are made external, outside of me and of time; they contain and make distant the complexity of then and now, the grief and love.
In Company, Beckett lives the contradiction between the mind (always measuring and quantifying) and the sensual imagination, so fleeting yet never forgotten; across time, so elusive, in the body so flesh-bound, deep held in the bone. Company is a journey back, and on, into memory felt, never forgotten, stirring, still wounding after all these years. The light, the “trusted face” upturned to you, the smell of guilt for forgetting, the words of an encounter, the snow, the contact shaken off. The scenes remembered vitally as they are imagined in the body and re-lived in the mind. Do I remember, not the photo, but how it was, or how I was, and was that me? Is it still me, talking to myself, looking for another, what I am? So we go on, “devising for company”.
‘Your father’s shade is not with you any more. It fell out long ago.’
— From Samuel Beckett’s Company