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Rupert Thomson

In March 1961 the author of Waiting for Godot (1955) Samuel Beckett (aged 54) mysteriously booked a room for two weeks at the Hotel Bristol on the Upper Leas in Folkestone under his middle name, Barclay Beckett. Beckett was keen that his Folkestone marriage to his long time partner Suzanne Dechevaux-Dumesnil remain a secret and so during his stay he was deliberately stealthy for fear of being recognised.

To mark the 60th anniversary year of Beckett’s wedding in all its intrigue, The Shape of Things to Come festival has commissioned an indoor-outdoor promenade event which audience members experience one at a time. This includes three short five-minute fictional monologues specially written by acclaimed writers, Helen Oyeyemi, Rupert Thomson and Eimear McBride in which they portray three Folkestone residents who observed (or nearly observed in one case) Beckett during his stay - a receptionist at the Hotel Bristol where he stayed, a local journalist for the Daily Express who believed he’d discovered about Beckett’s marriage in advance, and a witness, possibly invited from off the street, to the wedding at Folkestone Registry Office.

Each audience member walks through the same streets as Beckett, stopping at three venues to watch the three monologues. As they walk they will listen on headphones to three Beckett life sketches that touch on three works gestating in his mind at the time: his marriage play Happy Days, his adultery play Play (featuring two Kent place names at a critical juncture) and his film Film steeped in paranoia and in the fear of being perceived.

This is a dual event, for a limited live audience in Folkestone and as a specially commissioned film for a world-wide digital audience. The film will seek to allow the digital audience an equal, if different, experience of this curation.

Age recommendation 18+



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Canterbury Festival 2022
  Canterbury Festival