Monday, October 23, 2006

Beckett on Film

19 plays, four DVDs
Various directors, 2002
Produced by Michael Colgan and Alan Moloney
Age 6 and up

A couple of years ago my children created a drama in which they pretended to leave home with picnic lunches, traveled in a circle on a sofa for a while, and then began to sink in quicksand while trying to eat. "This is just like Beckett," I thought to myself. In the years since, they've become fans of Buster Keaton and the leap to Beckett is a natural one. Beckett on Film offers the perfect opportunity to explore his plays with your youngster, with directors like David Mamet and Atom Egoyan and actors including John Gielgud, Jeremy Irons, Kristin Scott-Thomas, Juliet Stevenson, & John Hurt. As we view the discs, I'll share our recommendations. They can be rented one at a time, at least from Netflix.

Disc 2: Includes "Krapp's Last Tape," "What Where," "Footfalls," "Come and Go" and "Act Without Words I." I recommend trying anything on this disc. My daughter watched all of "Krapp's Last Tape," while my son got bored during the second half—but they both loved the slapstick, which included John Hurt slipping on a banana peel. They both liked the silent "Act Without Words I." My son watched "Footfalls" twice, which I found somewhat surprising, but you never know, which is why anything appropriate and worth viewing, is worth trying with kids. Disc 4: "Act Without Words II," "Rockaby" and "Play" are recommended. "Play" has a few bad words but the characters, who are sitting in urns and brilliantly played by Juliet Stephenson, Alan Rickman and Kristen Scott-Thomas, speak very fast. The other two discs are less compelling to kids, I'd say.

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