Cascando – Review

Pan Pan Theatre

Beckett Theatre


cascando pic

When I think of the words “radio play,” it is generally in conjunction with an image of the listener pottering around the kitchen, or perhaps curled up in a chair. This is evidently not the same for Pan Pan’s Gavin Quinn, who’s installation of Beckett’s Cascando is an unsettling, absorbing and intriguing journey through a reflective maze, both in terms of set and text.

First broadcast in October 1963, Cascando is a play for music and voice that circles around and overlaps itself in a short but potent exploration of sound, silence, language, identity, journey and storytelling. As the audience walks around Aedín Cosgrove’s labyrinthine, mirrored set, clothed in long hooded robes listening to the play through headphones, there is an odd combination of connectedness and isolation, playing with the disjointed flow of the text between Voice and Music. With only a few lights around the labyrinth, one’s eyes never quite adjust to the darkness, just as one can never quite adjust to the text. Just as Voice seems settled, the Opener calls a halt, and introduces the discordant and intense Music. This constant cycling and overlapping of Voice and Music, like the changing levels of light, means the listener is always alert, awake to both change and repetition.

Walking around the space, moving slowly towards a centre circle, catching glimpses of people through walls, with reflections and reality blurred, this is a truly immersive experience. As the audience slowly makes its way through the darkness, pausing at corners, unsure what is mirror and what is open space, cautious of bumping into each other, changing pace with the light and the text, one truly experiences the vacillating, uncertain journey of Woburn in this deeply immersive, yet personal and detached installation of Beckett’s Cascando.

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