Feargal Whelan
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‘Imprecations from the Brighton Road to Foxrock Station’
The effect of place on Mouth on Fire’s stagings of All That Fall
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Beckett notoriously opposed stage performances of All That Fall because it was intended to ‘come out of the dark’. By assessing two productions of the radio play by Mouth on Fire from 2019, performed to a wholly blindfolded audience at Tullow parish church in Beckett’s native Foxrock and Áras an Uachtaráin, the official residence of Irish president Michael D. Higgins, this chapter argues that the effect of transposition is not merely confined to visually distracting an audience from the dialogue and soundscape. Rather, the effect of where it was performed, and the necessary setting of its transposition, demanded that the play inevitably formed part of a broader event beyond its original intent. As a consequence, the two performances, which embraced the idea of using the play as the centrepiece of a commemorative event, amplified both the subject matter of the play (a meditation on Beckett’s childhood community) and a revisiting of the play’s production history (Beckett’s unilateral withdrawal of permission to perform his work in Ireland in the 1950s). The dialogue between audience and performance ultimately enabled local acknowledgement of Beckett as an Irish writer and a member of the community which he described in the play, and also allowed for a reappraisal of his central concerns about what might be lost in transferral from radio to stage in comparison to what might be gained. In addition, these productions are situated against the background of two earlier stagings by Out of Joint and Jermyn Street.

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Beckett’s afterlives

Adaptation, remediation, appropriation


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