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Samuel Beckett

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ENTERTAINMENT
April 16, 2012 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
Sometimes you can't put your finger on what you've been missing until you encounter it again. After seeing two fine revivals of plays by Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter - "Waiting for Godot" at the Mark Taper Forum and the British production of "The Caretaker" at San Francisco's Curran Theatre, respectively - I suddenly realized how ravenous I was for language in the theater with poetic density and grit. Beckett, 20th century playwriting's No. 1 game-changer, and Pinter, his most original disciple, were writers steeped in literature.
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ENTERTAINMENT
January 15, 2014 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
Irish actor Barry McGovern is once again gracing our shores with his Beckettian virtuosity. In 2012, he and Alan Mandell starred in a luminous revival of "Waiting for Godot" at the Mark Taper Forum. Now he's at the Kirk Douglas Theatre performing "I'll Go On," his solo show composed of selections of Samuel Beckett's trilogy of novels, "Molloy," "Malone Dies" and "The Unnamable. " McGovern has all the qualities of a superb Beckett interpreter. He relishes the comic brio even at its most scatological and possesses a voice that can draw out all the various hues of the verbal brilliance.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 27, 1989
"His argument," Hugh Kenner, critic, said, "was with the Book of Genesis." Last heroic modernist: captain-general in the struggle that began with Beaudelaire, included Joyce, Eliot, Kafka, Balanchine and Picasso. Suburban origin; transcendent sensibility. Work more real--if what is real is true--than stuff by all the tenders of that literary flame. Molloy, Malone, Godot--a rebuke to all beaters of drums and bearers of banners.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 25, 2013 | By David Ng
Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart -- better known as Magneto and Prof. Charles Xavier, respectively, to "X-Men" fans -- are currently taking a breather from the superhero franchise and starring together in Broadway repertory productions of Harold Pinter's "No Man's Land" and Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot. " The revolving productions, which officially opened Sunday at the Cort Theatre in New York, were performed at Berkeley Repertory Theatre earlier this year en route to Broadway.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 21, 1985 | DAN SULLIVAN, Times Theater Critic
It has been said that there were three Henry Jameses: James the First, James the Second and James the Pretender. Meaning that in his last novels, the convoluted manner has so overwhelmed the subject that it has become the subject. Some people find late James the richest of all, of course. And some followers of Samuel Beckett may find his "Company" (1980) an exquisite summation of all that Beckett has told us about man's encounter with his nothingness.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 11, 1990 | JESS BRAVIN
"Approach when you're told, can't you?" shouted Estragon. "What is it?" demanded Vladimir. Now it was up to Michael Lindsay, as the Boy, in Samuel Beckett's most famous play: "Mr. Go-Dot . . . ," he said uneasily, almost rhyming the title character's name with go-cart .
NEWS
December 27, 1989 | STEPHEN BRAUN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Samuel Beckett, the taciturn master of fiction and drama whose bleak poetic and darkly comedic works etched the pessimism of the human condition, has died in Paris, it was learned Tuesday. Jerome Linden, his publisher, said the Nobel laureate was buried Tuesday in a Paris cemetery after his death last Friday of respiratory failure. He was 83 years old, and the news of his death was delayed in keeping with Beckett's secretive life style.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 18, 2009 | Tim Rutten
Death's shadow frequently sends literary reputation into critical eclipse. Not so the Nobel laureate Samuel Beckett, who has seemed to rise further in our esteem with every year that has passed since his death in 1989 at the age of 83. Of the great Modernists, in fact, it's Beckett who continues to speak most directly and freshly to our own experience of the world -- and that includes his great friend and literary mentor, James Joyce, though saying so feels curiously like apostasy.
NEWS
December 26, 1989 | From Reuters
Samuel Beckett, whose "Waiting For Godot" and other tragicomic plays of brooding despair revolutionized 20th-Century theater, died in a Paris nursing home at the age of 83 and was buried today in strict secrecy, four days after his death. Editions de Minuit, the French publishing house that turned the spotlight on Beckett after printing "Waiting for Godot," said the death Friday of the Dublin-born dramatist had been kept quiet to respect his lifelong desire for privacy.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 30, 1990 | MARK CHALON SMITH
The electronic billboard at Orange Coast College touts "Waiting for Godot" this way: "Humor! Comedy! Ha!--Ha!--Ha!" Maybe they should have added, "By Sammy Beckett, that gagster of ennui! That joker of Angst!" Well, folks, "Waiting for Godot" isn't really that big a hoot. Let's call it a "tragicomedy," with alienation and desperation as the twin punch lines. The billboard is misleading in another way too.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 27, 2013 | By David Ng
The new season at the Kirk Douglas Theatre will feature four main productions, including a world-premiere musical and Irish actor Barry McGovern in a piece dedicated to Samuel Beckett.  In addition, the 2013-14 season, announced Thursday by Center Theatre Group, will showcase solo pieces by actor Roger Guenveur Smith about Rodney King plus a new work by Luis Alfaro. "The Black Suits" (Oct. 27 to Nov. 24) is a new musical written by Joe Iconis and Robert Maddock about four young men growing up on Long Island and the garage band they form.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 3, 2013 | By Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times
To some people - those who might attend a guerrilla reading in San Francisco, for example - Ken Baumann is a writer and small-press publisher who is part of the contemporary literary vanguard. And yet, to a generation of adolescent girls, he's instantly recognizable as a star of the beloved ABC Family series "The Secret Life of the American Teenager," now in its last season. "As long as I can do both, why wouldn't I want to?" Baumann asks at an L.A. cafe. He's lanky and pale-skinned, making it easy to see why he was cast as a high school student in 2008 (he's now 23)
ENTERTAINMENT
October 15, 2012 | By Reed Johnson, Los Angeles Times
Technology is messing with John Hurt's head. His rental cellphone is ringing like mad, but when he tries to answer it, no one's there. "Four new messages!" the British actor exclaims, scrutinizing the phone's display screen as if it were written in Sanskrit. "What's going on?" Krapp would sympathize. In "Krapp's Last Tape," Samuel Beckett's quietly devastating one-act memory play, an isolated old man, a writer named Krapp, squares off with another confounding technological contraption: a reel-to-reel tape recorder.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 12, 2012 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
With his shock of silver-gray hair, his face etched by time with the lean expressiveness of a Giacometti sculpture and his soulful eyes registering every fleeting hurt and happiness, John Hurt bears a striking resemblance to Samuel Beckett in the distinguished British actor's magnificent rendition of "Krapp's Last Tape" at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. For anyone needing a reminder that theater can be an art (and not just a scrappy entertainment), this beautifully mounted production of Beckett's play, directed by Michael Colgan of Dublin's Gate Theatre, is not to be missed.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 16, 2012 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
Sometimes you can't put your finger on what you've been missing until you encounter it again. After seeing two fine revivals of plays by Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter - "Waiting for Godot" at the Mark Taper Forum and the British production of "The Caretaker" at San Francisco's Curran Theatre, respectively - I suddenly realized how ravenous I was for language in the theater with poetic density and grit. Beckett, 20th century playwriting's No. 1 game-changer, and Pinter, his most original disciple, were writers steeped in literature.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 18, 2012 | By Margaret Gray, Special to the Los Angeles Times
On the awesomeness scale, the pairing of Alan Mandell and Barry McGovern in Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot" is off the charts, a fantasy face-off in a league with George Washington versus Abe Lincoln or giant octopus versus giant squid — even though "Godot" is not the most action-packed of the existential classics. Mandell and McGovern are two of the most experienced and widely admired interpreters of Beckett's work, and beginning Wednesday at the Mark Taper Forum, they will perform together for the first time.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 18, 2012 | By Margaret Gray, Special to the Los Angeles Times
On the awesomeness scale, the pairing of Alan Mandell and Barry McGovern in Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot" is off the charts, a fantasy face-off in a league with George Washington versus Abe Lincoln or giant octopus versus giant squid — even though "Godot" is not the most action-packed of the existential classics. Mandell and McGovern are two of the most experienced and widely admired interpreters of Beckett's work, and beginning Wednesday at the Mark Taper Forum, they will perform together for the first time.
BOOKS
December 15, 1996 | RALPH B. SIPPER, Ralph B. Sipper is a Santa Barbara rare-book dealer
Twenty-five years ago when James Knowlson informed Samuel Beckett that he had been commissioned to write a biography of him, the self-effacing author courteously but clearly indicated that he would be less than pleased to make the details of his private life available for public scrutiny. Knowlson backed off for two decades and continued to study his subject from afar, writing or editing 10 books on Beckett.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 14, 2009 | Michael Phillips
"Bandslam" is a pretty good movie given that the odds of it having been a pretty bad movie were steep. On its face, it sounds like the highest-possible fructose corn syrup: Lonely new kid in town, pours his heart out in unanswered letters to David Bowie, becomes manager of teen band fronted by cutest girl on planet. If band wins big Bandslam contest, it's a record deal and fame and so long, high school, it's been good to know ya'. Here's the surprise: "Bandslam" may come from synthetic materials, but the characters are a little more complicated than usual.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 18, 2009 | Tim Rutten
Death's shadow frequently sends literary reputation into critical eclipse. Not so the Nobel laureate Samuel Beckett, who has seemed to rise further in our esteem with every year that has passed since his death in 1989 at the age of 83. Of the great Modernists, in fact, it's Beckett who continues to speak most directly and freshly to our own experience of the world -- and that includes his great friend and literary mentor, James Joyce, though saying so feels curiously like apostasy.
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