In 2016, Phillip Zarrilli was invited to direct an evening of two Beckett plays — Footfalls and Play in a co-production between Colectivo Escénico Dragón and The National Theatre Company of Costa Rica. Spearheaded by actress Milena Picado, who had trained with Zarrilli at his private studio in West Wales for several summers, the group brought together funding and support from a variety of sources to realise the premiere of these two Beckett plays in Costa Rica. Zarrilli’s five-week residency in San José began with an open workshop for professional Costa Rican actors in his pre-performative psychophysical process, followed by daily training and intensive rehearsals with the cast. The principles of Zarrilli’s pre-performative training process were carefully applied to the work of the actors.
The combined performance, titled ...semblanza... sequela... espectro..., premiered at Teatro de la Aduana on 2 February 2017 and ran through 26 February, receiving critical acclaim.
Cast of Play: Érika Rojas (W2), Javier Montenegro (M), Milena Picado (W1)
Cast of Footfalls: Milena Picado (May), Érika Rojas (Voice)
Director: Phillip Zarrilli
‘...semblanza... sequelA... Espectro..., a step away from Nothingness’
At Teatro de la Aduana, two works of Samuel Beckett stretch and fragment memories.
Tobías Ovares, La Nación (7 February 2017)
In Samuel Beckett, the text is everything. Each word, silence or punctuation mark is placed with the aim of generating a specific effect. This is a challenge for directors, interpreters, and also for the audience. For this reason, when a Beckettian show flows with the musicality of the text and renounces the desire to represent something that is outside of what is said, the magic of the Irish playwright appears. This happened with semblance... sequel... spectrum... (on stage at the Teatro de la Aduana).
In Play, two women and a man relate the vicissitudes of a love triangle. Reduced to the condition of talking heads, the characters are animated by a light that jumps from one to another establishing the moments in which they can speak or not. This capricious light becomes a dynamic extra character, in contrast to the absolute immobility of the rest.
Érika Rojas, Milena Picado, and Javier Montenegro dominated a libretto consisting of interlaced monologues, repetitions, and unfinished phrases. The actoral work was based on a rigorous precision when issuing each parliament. With no margin for error, the cast bet on the technique and dispensed with any psychological effectiveness in order to give life to the intricate text.
In Footfalls, the ghostly May (Picado) dialogues with the voice of her absent mother (Rojas). The vital space of May is delimited by a lateral focus that restricts its displacements and turns them into a reduced funeral march. The creeping sound of her steps and the long periods of intense stillness show us an existence that fades away and is diluted to definitive oblivion.
Phillip Zarrilli in rehearsals for both Play and Footfalls.