SEATTLE: “Seattle is a very collaborative and open theatre community,” says George Mount, artistic director of Seattle Shakespeare Company. “We often joke that we have one repertory company that happens to perform at dozens of different theatres. We tend to work and create in very close harmony.”
That’s how his decision to produce Samuel Beckett’s mid-century masterpiece Waiting for Godot at ACT Theatre led to conversations among the city’s theatremakers about following up 2012’s Pinter Festival at ACT with one exploring the works of the Irish-born creator of Hamm, Krapp and Mouth. First, A.J. Epstein of West of Lenin stepped up with a program of one-acts, “Sandbox Radio: Beckett on the Radio,” which ran at his own theatre in August and will bow at ACT on Oct. 13.
Other Beckett Fest offerings, in addition to Seattle Shakes’ Godot (Sept. 4–21), include Sound Theatre Company with an evening of rarely produced short works, “5 by Beckett” (Oct. 30–Nov. 9); A Company for Now, with a slate of slightly more popular short works in “Beckett Times Three” (Sept. 25–28); two nights of readings of poems and “play” at Eclectic Theater (Sept. 26–27); a one-night reading by Book-It Repertory Theatre of Beckett’s novella First Love, at Center Theatre in the Armory (Oct. 10); an evening of Beckett-inspired music and comedy at Couth Buzzard Books Espresso Buono Café (Oct. 17); and a run of dueling takes on Endgame by Ghost Light Theatricals and Blood Ensemble (Oct. 31–Nov. 22.)
Mount estimates that all told, Seattle will be getting more than 20 different Beckett or Beckett-inspired pieces, pre-show lectures and readings. And he speculated, “There probably aren’t a lot of playwrights who could unite a whole city of theatre artists and still be true to each company’s mission,” citing both Beckett’s classical and avant-garde pedigree, and the way he’s inspired both radio-play performers and physical theatre artists. And he wonders if Seattle might be especially congenial to Beckett because of “our damp and gloomy weather…Emerald City/Emerald Isle?” Go to seattlebeckettfest.org.