Words and Music at the Edmonton Fringe Festival

Words and Music by Samuel Beckett

Old Scona High School (10534 – 84 avenue) August 14, 15, 18 – 21
More information: zyzitheatre.com

Words and Music. Photo credit Phil Zyp.

Words and Music. Photo credit Phil Zyp.

An interview with Phil Zyp.

Describe your show in five words.

Compelling, radical, hypnotic, challenging, arresting

Okay, now that we’re intrigued… what’s the longer description?

Few people know that Samuel Beckett was a great lover of music. He was a very accomplished pianist and, by all reports, quite a good singer. What fewer people know is that he ever wrote a musical. Words and Music was originally written for BBC Radio in 1961 and we are delighted to present it for what we believe is the first time ever in Edmonton. When Beckett first wrote the text, he commissioned a score from his cousin John Beckett. But apparently he never liked it and it has since been performed with music by a variety of composers. We are delighted to present it with a brand new original score by Gareth Gilliland.

Samuel Beckett is known for writing plays that are difficult to perform – what do you love about his work and why did you want to bring Words and Music to the Edmonton Fringe?

I love the difficulty. We’ve had a fabulous time in rehearsal trying to tease the meaning from Beckett’s so carefully chosen words. I love the poetry and musicality of his text. I love the mystery behind almost every line.

You’re presenting Words and Music with an original score by Gareth Gilliland. What does this particular score add to the piece and how does it do that?

It adds a depth of emotion that the words cannot reach. It adds a rhythm and intensity.

I know that Beckett’s work can usually be interpreted many different ways – what statements or themes within Words and Music did you want to focus on?

The possibility of humans actually communicating and the interconnectedness of different art forms.

Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?

It features brilliant performances by three of Edmonton’s most talented young actor/musicians.

Bonus question: Any names you want to drop who have been involved in your show (Edmonton arts people or otherwise)?

Gareth Gilliland’s father is noted Edmonton composer Allan Gilliland.

The 34th Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is August 13 – 23. Get your tickets at tickets.fringetheatre.ca.

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