Beckett at Greystones Bay


SAMUEL BECKETT - a writer, 27, smashing looking—tall and athletic, broad shoulders, angular features. Disheveled clothes, grubby trousers, dirty raincoat several sizes too large, which has a text in one pocket and a bottle of stout in the other.

Two actors play a cacophony of voices from his past, loud, soft, haunting, brash:

Brother’s voice

Father’s voice

Mother’s voice

Edna’s voice

Cousin Margaret’s voice


Greystones Bay, Ireland, winter, 1933. Dusk. The coastline of Greystones is made of a large beach, rocky formations and a bay which hosts a small harbor. SAM’S father is buried in a nearby cemetery.

The action takes place in the mind of SAMUEL BECKETT. We’re on a bleak stony beach. Winter. 1933. Dusk. Twilight shadows soak up the tattered sand. SAM limps in, carrying a pail with stones. A small strip of gauze is wrapped about his index finger and foot. He conveys an impression of elegance though threadbare. His thick reddish-brown hair is brushed to the right revealing an aquiline nose, and haunting eyes. He has set up camp by a weather worn chest. It contains bandage supplies, books, cigarettes, matches, and food. He faces the audience responding to images of people he envisions in the sea. When he does so, faces appear on the rear scrim and or actors representing these characters stand up in the audience. He yells out.

Go. I need to finish my book.

(Takes out pencil and pad, writes. A whisper like a hoarse breeze. Lights dim. His father’s image startles him.)

Oh! Is that . . . you?

(Sound of breathing.)

It can’t be, but it is. Sit. Goodness. Well.

(Sound of breeze.)

I’m glad to see you. You look good. Your hands aren’t swollen any more. Did you come because they want to psychoanalyze me?

(An eerie rustling sound.)

What’s that? When I came back from your death bed, I felt completely lost. I crawled on to this beach and lay here for hours, like a husk. I don’t know who I am or what I’m doing. I’m living a dying thing. You have already cut me loose, but I refuse to let you go. Bad move. Mother’s lonely. Brother’s getting married. Your dog, Wolf, died. Mother cried for two days. . . .

(Father’s voice: “You must go.”)

You hated psychiatrists. If I can be out here in this place that you loved, I know my mind will clear up. I’ll finish the book. Say something? Anything.

(A low barely perceptible heart beat and shallow breathing. Father’s voice: “Go.”)


(A clanging noise like a metal door closing. Ghost disappears.)

Don’t leave. Father.

(Fading wind. He reaches toward the sky.)

To quote Keats: I have clung
To nothing, loved a nothing, nothing seen
Or felt but a great dream. O I have been
Presumptuous against love--

(Sees image of his Brother. Screech of seagulls.)

(Brother’s voice: “See the psychiatrist.”)

Performance History

A Certain Mr. B (former title) was commissioned by the M. Archimbaud producer, Paris, for the Comedie des Champs Elysees, Paris, Fall 2003, invited reading at the National Arts Club, January 2005.