[(essay date 1973) The following excerpt includes the exposition and opening pages of Beckett’s play Not I, an example of the radical use of fragmentation in his late work. It features a disembodied MOUTH who narrates for a silent auditor the flickering, disorganized thoughts of an old, lonely woman who enters a paralytic state while out on a walk one April morning. ]
Stage in darkness but for MOUTH, upstage audience right, about 8’ above stage level, faintly lit from close-up and below, rest of face in shadow. Invisible microphone.
AUDITOR, downstage audience left, tall standing figure, sex undeterminable, enveloped from head to foot in loose black djellaba, with hood, fully faintly lit, standing on invisible podium about 4’ high, shown by attitude alone to be facing diagonally across stage intent on MOUTH, dead still throughout but for four brief movements where indicated. See Note.
As house lights down MOUTH’s voice unintelligible...