It was not a complete fiasco. There were moments when the performers were permitted to sing, play and recite without too many obstructions. Ryan McKinny and Julia Bullock have commanding voices and are electric presences. Pricilla Pointer gave a creditable performance of Rockabye, as did Barry McGovern in Ohio Impromptu.
It was not a terrible idea, complimenting Schubert’s concentrated dramatic songs with Beckett’s concentrated micro-dramas. The problem came in the attempts to blend them together.
Act Without Words II was well performed by Barry McGovern and Miles Anderson. So well done they could have risked doing it without Schubert’s Impromptu #3 in the background. Since when is Schubert background music?
And then, how can anybody think the right way to end Catastrophe is with the Protagonist bursting into a magnificent, full-bodied rendition of “Gravedigger’s Homesickness”? The whole point of Beckett’s chilling parable is the character’s tragic muteness. It’s beyond belief. Did anybody read the play?
Likewise, the perfect regularity of the the three ladies in Come and Go was destroyed when Flo stepped aside to sing “Laughter and Weeping.” Bullock was wonderful, but why spoil Beckett?
And then there were the even worse moments, when McKinney and Bullock were required to sing with props from other Beckett plays—the mound from Happy Days, the trash cans from Endgame—treated like gimmicks in a cheesy review.
Is it any surprise that the Beckett play that gave the evening it’s title—the one Beckett piece that specifies the use of Schubert’s music—was not presented?