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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

In Context: Embers

Samuel Becket's radio play Embers comes to BAM from September 17—20. Context is everything, so get even closer to the production with this curated selection of articles, interviews, and videos related to the show. Once you've seen it, help us keep the conversation going by telling us what you thought below.

BAM Program Notes

Embers (PDF)

Read & Listen

1959 Broadcast of Embers (YouTube)
Listen to the original BBC broadcast of the play.

Embers by Samuel Beckett (
Read Beckett’s radio play in its entirety.

“Beckett’s Embers Concerned with Fading Memories” (
“You get that feeling of how memories can come at you in different volumes,” says Embers director Gavin Quinn.

“The Silence That Is Not Silence: Acoustic Art In Samuel Beckett’s Embers (
A more scholarly perspective on sound in Embers. 

An Interview with Gavin Quinn (Irish Theatre Magazine)
“I see the audience experiencing the text in a corporeal way,” says Quinn, “because they are actually part of the installation.”

"Beckett's Centenary: Revisiting a Legacy" (NPR)
"Try again. Fail again. Fail better": An audio trip across the stages of Beckett's past.


Time-Lapse: Making the Embers Skull (Vimeo)
Piece by piece, the macabre fixture of Embers comes together.

Making the Embers Skullscape (Vimeo)
The Embers centerpiece is all about patterns. 

Now your turn...

So how did you enjoy the show? Likes? Dislikes? Tell us what's on your mind in the comments below.


  1. At tonight's performance I really enjoyed the woman in front of me trying to take photos with her phone. Then the same phone making bleep sounds. After that, probably Siri from an iPhone talking during the show. And most of all, a cell phone ringing for a good solid 10 secs toward the end of the performance.

  2. It was such an awful reading of the piece. I did not get the stage production and the skull did not enhance the context of the character (voice) in any way. It was distracting and annoying. Whatever happened to the thoughtful use of production values (a prop that size, Lord!). Nothing as bad as the speaking voice of the actor (more of a narrator); lacking of character, depth and imagination. Annoying and mediocre.

  3. Can you trash Beckett? Yes. See Ambers at BAM. The worse Beckett ever.

  4. Pretty good. I enjoyed having the Beckett words wash over me. Interesting visually - very simple, but evocative. The acting was good, but I thought he could have taken a slightly less actorish approach to the text.

  5. I really enjoyed this, thought it was a great way to present a radio play on the stage. Loved the staging, lighting and sound effects. It's "very Beckett" -- reminded me of BAM's production of Happy Days with Fiona Shaw a few years ago.

  6. I rarely rarely miss with BAM performances, which usually more than deliver. Visiting this "play" has left me feel robbed of my time and money. The way it was done, it was more suitable for the radio.

  7. The recent All That Fall production with Aileen Atkins and Michael Gabon is an example of how to stage a Beckett radio play in a way that maintains emphasis on the language while including some embodiment of the narrative. This production was visually overblown and minimized the experience of the text. As the New York Times reviewer suggested, it's best to close one's eyes during this production--and that you can do at home.


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