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Happy Days -- Beckett's plays to be performed 'as Gaeilge'

SAMUEL Beckett will be heard 'as Gaeilge' for the first time after a fledgling theatre company gained the translation rights.

Mouth on Fire Theatre Company, founded in 2010, will stage the world premiere of 'Teacht is Imeacht' -- the Irish-language translation of Beckett's short play 'Come and Go' -- at the Focus Theatre, Dublin, in April.

Author, poet and translator Gabriel Rosenstock received special permission from the Beckett estate to translate the world-renowned writer's work into Irish.

"I had some difficulty with the pauses but none of the dialogue," Mr Rosenstock joked to the Irish Independent.


However, the prolific translator, who has worked on more than 160 book translations, said Beckett's work now "belonged to world literature" and it was his intention to "bring world literature into the Irish language".

"People think Beckett is always on the edge of gloom and despair but I think he's very spiritual, I wouldn't be translating him otherwise," said Mr Rosenstock, the uncle of 'Gift Grub' comedian Mario Rosenstock.

Cathal Quinn, artistic director of Mouth on Fire, said the theatre company was "honoured and excited" to be staging new interpretations of Samuel Beckett's work.

"The Beckett estate is notorious for the scrupulous care it takes to safeguard the integrity of Beckett's writing -- and rightly so," said Mr Quinn.

"So, as a relatively new production company, we were thrilled to be granted the rights to translate some of his short plays into Irish, and to stage 'Come and Go' -- which many consider Beckett's most perfect short play -- in Irish for the very first time."

'Come and Go', performed in English and then Irish, will be part of an ensemble production entitled 'Before Vanishing', which will feature three other Beckett short plays: 'Ohio Impromptu', 'Footfalls', and 'That Time', all running at the Focus Theatre from April 10-21.

Mother-and-son acting team Geraldine Plunkett and Marcus Lamb will share the stage, along with four other actors -- Melissa Nolan, Jennifer Laverty, Colm O'Brien and Nick Devlin.

Ms Plunkett played Mary McDermott-Moran in RTE soap 'Glenroe', and her son Marcus Lamb will shortly be seen opposite Fionnuala Flanagan in Lance Daly's new feature film, 'Life's A Breeze'.

"Beckett is such a wonderful playwright, so intriguing even if you don't know what's going on. It just doesn't matter because there's so much magic and atmosphere coming across. As an actress, it's a joy to say the lines," said Ms Plunkett.

Tickets for the Focus Theatre run of 'Before Vanishing' are priced at €12/€10 at eventbrite.ie.

Irish Independent