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  • Claudia Schwab

London, Gongs and Beckett

Why did nobody tell me that London is so cool ?!



The train takes me to the alpine valley of my beginnings and I am slowly and reluctantly emerging out of a glowing, safe haven centred around the Coronet Theatre in Notting Hill.


3 weeks of a daily entrance into the world of Samuel Beckett's work "How It Is":

"I say it as I hear it. Every word always. I say it no more".

A production by Gare St. Lazare Ireland, it featured outstanding actors Conor Lovett and Stephen Dillane, who's voices will echo in my mind for a while longer - or so I hope! What honour and profound nourishment for the creative souls to get to be in the presence of such excellence!

The production featured the entire Irish Gamelan Orchestra, directed by Mel Mercier, and the fantastic Cathal Roche on saxophone. I was honoured to get involved with a Schubert song, loops and delays.

Aside of the beauty of diving into a daily gong- filled sound bath with a group of just very sound and lovely musicians, it is quite extraordinary to get to hear a text so many times over and over. New understandings and worlds are opened up each time, a feeling of glimpsing the faintest grasp of the depth of this work.

And that was only our evening time! Venturing out from our pad in lovely Chiswick, I spent my days exploring different parts of London: tasting food from Congo, South India or the Caribbeans, visiting a warehouse that has been taken over by artists, strolling along the Thames, Portobello and Broadway Road Market, paying a visit to Soho, Chinatown and the Tote museum, going to see a Cuban Jazz Gig in Camden. Going for runs around Chiswick House and gardens, picking flowers in the park, reading my book in diverse cafes, playing tunes in Hampstead Heath park, on an old wooden boat and some lovely pubs here and there, getting involved with the local Irish trad scene.



A last ritual of Beckett and gongs was followed by a joyful outburst of an all- night sing - song in the piano bar, at the bus stop, on the bus and the foyer of the hotel ... the release, and last bonding before having to part ... Golden days.

If one was adding the hours in which one truly lived, as mentioned in an Austrian fairytale I recently got to hear, these three weeks would definitely lift the average through the roof!

"They were good moments. There will be good moments. Less good, it has to be expected"

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