Fortune Theatre - Hutchinson Studio, Dunedin

30/09/2016 - 22/10/2016

Dunedin Arts Festival 2016

Production Details

“Just been listening to that stupid bastard I took myself for thirty years ago…”  

So begins the last recording of Krapp, a white faced, purple nosed old man with an amazing shock of grey hair. Following the success of Harold Pinter’s The Caretaker during the 2014 Arts Festival Dunedin, Fortune is delighted to present this Samuel Beckett classic as part of the 2016 Festival.

Samuel Beckett wrote Krapp’s Last Tape in 1958 to explore the possible significance of a new piece of technology: the reel-to-reel tape recorder. This comic-tragic play is about a man at the end of his life who rekindles his remembered youth by listening to tapes of his younger self. As he listens and reflects on his life as a failed writer, lover and liver, things begin to shift.

Beckett is among the most influential writers of the 20th Century, and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969 for this writing.

Director Jonathon Hendry’s vision is to transform the Murray Hutchinson Studio to enable the audience to literally enter into Krapp’s world. Set Designer Peter King says “It will feel like we are in Krapp’s mind and space – there will be no visible “theatre” equipment and his world will spill out into the corridor. The set will feature a disused lift shaft that represents the lack of movement in Krapp’s life.” Hendry says, “Audiences will be submerged into Krapp’s den during a late evening in a mysterious future. A world filled with life’s detritus, reels of tape, shifting memories and a seemingly endless supply of bananas.”

Known as Beckett’s favourite play, the central character is played by esteemed Dunedin actor Simon O’Connor (Outside Mullingar, The War Play, The Keys are in the Margarine, Over the River and Through the Woods). Themes of memory and loss, presence and absence, history and the future are all explored in this much-loved classic, which perhaps leaves the audience asking themselves what would be on the tape of our 30-years-younger self?

The first week of Krapp’s Last Tape will be part of Arts Festival Dunedin. To complete the circle with the 2014 festival, Harold Pinter, who wrote The Caretaker, starred as Krapp in the Royal Court Theatre’s season of Krapp’s Last Tape in London in 2006.

Find out more at  

Murray Hutchinson Studio, Fortune Theatre, 231 Stuart Street, Dunedin
30 September – 22 October, 2016
(1-9 October as part of the Arts Festival Dunedin 2016)
Members’ Briefing: Sunday, 2 October. Meet at the Fortune bar at 3.00pm and join Director Jonathon Hendry for a lively informal chat about Krapp’s Last Tape.
Forum: Tuesday, 4 October. Join the cast and crew for an open question and answer session following the 6.00pm show. 
Tickets: Adults $45
Early Bird (booking 1 month in advance) $37.50
Opening Week Ticket (Sunday-Thursday) $37.50
Senior Citizens/Community Services Card $35
Fortune Theatre Members $32
Tertiary Students $22 (2-for-1 tickets on Wednesdays with ID)
High School Students $17.50  
Group Discount (6+) $35
Bookings: 231 Stuart Street, Dunedin | 03 4778323 | | @fortunetheatre 

Running Time: Approximately 55 Minutes (no interval)  

Director – Jonathon Hendry
Set Design – Peter King
Lighting Design – Gary Kierle
Costume Design – Maryanne Wright-Smyth
Sound Design – Matthew Morgan
Stage Manager – Erica Browne
Properties Master – George Wallace
Operator – Anna Vandenbosch 

Theatre , Solo ,

55 mins

Unsettling and brilliant, a play not to miss

Review by Barbara Frame 03rd Oct 2016

There are three excellent reasons to go to Krapp’s Last Tape.  

The first is Samuel Beckett’s unsettling, baffling play about Krapp — on the verge of his threescore and ten, his identity unravelling, staring into the void of mortality and listening to a tape of his 30-years-earlier and seemingly more confident and competent self.

The second is Peter King’s exquisitely messy set, recalling his design for The Caretaker in 2014. [More


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A sublime realisation

Review by Reuben Hilder 02nd Oct 2016

On entering the Studio Theatre on the lowest level of the Fortune it is impossible not to be struck by the incredible of detail that has been put into the set of Krapp’s Last Tape. Shelf upon shelf of old boxes, long out-dated electronic devices and other detritus line the walls, extending even into the walkway that leads to the stage so that the audience must pass it to reach their seats.

In the centre of the stage is a large desk featuring an authentic and, to all appearances, still in working order reel-to-reel tape machine and microphone. At the rear of the stage the rows of shelves create pathways between them giving the sense that we are at the epicentre of a labyrinthine accumulation of clutter and the high, dimly illuminated windows immediately establish the setting as some kind of basement.

Before the play has even begun we feel we know a little about Krapp’s character: he is a hoarder, a shut-in, a man stuck in the past.  

And it is not just Peter King’s set that excels. Atmosphere oozes from every facet of the production design. From the dim pools of light created by the hanging lamps (lighting design by Gary Kierle ) to the periodic clicking of the reel-to-reel as it winds its way through Krapp’s memories (sound design by Matthew Morgan), it all contributes to the gloomy disquiet of the play. Even the small, slightly cramped theatre it takes place in starts to feel like an essential part of the design. 

But what brings it all together and makes all the other elements feel so significant is the magnificent performance of Simon O’Connor. The play’s shifts between slapstick comedy and deadly serious self-examination are handled so deftly that they not only feel natural, but can be communicated through a split-second look.

So expressive is O’Connor’s face that despite the fact most of the play takes place in silence or with Krapp listening to his past self, I never have the urge, or even the ability, to tear my eyes away from him. Every action, tremor and glance seems so layered and deliberate you will not want to miss the slightest detail. 

After the play, director Jonathon Hendry comments that despite the role of Krapp being tackled by such illustrious names as John Hurt and Harold Pinter, among others, he feels after the life O’Connor has breathed into the character he does not need to see any other interpretation, and I am inclined to agree with him.

Krapp’s Last Tape is sublime realisation of Beckett’s work and no fan of the playwright should miss it.  


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