presented at the
78th Street Theatre Lab, New York, NY.
May 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17th,  2003

Intermedia. Hypermedia and the Sublime.

Act Without Words
A Mime for One Player
By Samuel Beckett

Actors: Alan Nebelthau, Jean Taylor
Intermedia art
: John Toth
Director: Shelley Wyant
Producer: Eric Nightengale


Act Without Words
Samuel Beckett's play Act Without Words with Alan Nebalthal and Jean Taylor is presented as being somewhere between the real theater stage and a projected virtual reality fabric set by John Toth. Directed by Shelley Wyant and Eric Nightingale

flash animation

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ActWithoutWords-t0001.jpg (13414 bytes)

Desert. Dazzling light.

(Desert; Landscape; Bright light from above.)

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ActWithoutWords-t0002.jpg (10719 bytes)

The man is flung backwards on stage from right wing.

(Whistle from right wing # 1)

ActWithoutWords-t0003.jpg (10551 bytes)

He falls

(Piano. He reflects)

ActWithoutWords-t0005.jpg (11576 bytes)

gets up immediately,

  ActWithoutWords-t0004.jpg (10539 bytes)

dusts himself off,

  ActWithoutWords-t0007.jpg (10401 bytes)

turns aside,


ActWithoutWords-t0006.jpg (11802 bytes)




ActWithoutWords-t0008.jpg (11219 bytes)

Whistle from right wing.

(Whistle # 9)


ActWithoutWords-t0009.jpg (10118 bytes)

He reflects, goes out right.

ActWithoutWords-t0010.jpg (11041 bytes)

Immediately flung back on stage he falls, gets up immediately, dusts himself off, turns asides,


ActWithoutWords-t0011.jpg (11559 bytes)


  ActWithoutWords-t0012.jpg (10095 bytes)

Whistle from left wing.

(Whistle # 4)

ActWithoutWords-t0014.jpg (8652 bytes) He reflects, goes towards left wing, hesitates, thinks better of it, halts,  
  ActWithoutWords-t0013.jpg (11329 bytes)
turns aside, reflects.
ActWithoutWords-t0015.jpg (11802 bytes)

A little tree descends from flies, lands.

(Virtual tree descends, then actual trees unfolds from ceiling)

  ActWithoutWords-t0016.jpg (8642 bytes)  

It has a single bough some three yards from ground and at its summit a meager tuft of palms
casting at its foot a circle of shadow.

(a circle of light and shadow)

ActWithoutWords-t0017.jpg (10781 bytes)

Whistle from right.

  ActWithoutWords-t0018.jpg (11006 bytes)

Beside carafe a rope descends from flies, with knots to facilitate assent.

(virtual snake in

ActWithoutWords-t0019.jpg (11549 bytes)

Whistle from above.
He turns, sees rope, reflects, goes to it, climbs up it

(virtual rope in)

  ActWithoutWords-t0020.jpg (11633 bytes)

and is about to reach carafe when rope is let out and deposits him back on the ground.

(actual rope in)

ActWithoutWords-t0021.jpg (11391 bytes)
He reflects, looks around for scissors, sees them, goes and picks them up, returns to rope and starts to cut it with scissors.
  ActWithoutWords-t0022.jpg (11638 bytes) The rope is pulled up,  
ActWithoutWords-t0023.jpg (10674 bytes)
lifts him off ground,
  ActWithoutWords-t0024.jpg (10644 bytes) The carafe is pulled up quickly and disappears in flies.  
  ActWithoutWords-t0025.jpg (10747 bytes) He turns aside, reflects.  
ActWithoutWords-t0026.jpg (10888 bytes)
He goes with lasso in his hand to tree, looks at bough, turns and looks at cubes, looks again at bough,
  ActWithoutWords-t0027.jpg (10826 bytes) drops lasso, goes to cubes, takes up small one,  
ActWithoutWords-t0028.jpg (10850 bytes) carries it over and sets it down under bough, makes to put it on small one,  
  ActWithoutWords-t0029.jpg (10780 bytes) hesitates, thinks better of it, sets it down, takes up small one and puts it on big one, tests their stability, turns aside and stoops to pick up lasso.  
  ActWithoutWords-t0030.jpg (10712 bytes)
He carries back cubes to their place, one by one, goes back for lasso, carries it over to cubes and lays it in a neat coil on small one.
ActWithoutWords-t0031.jpg (10724 bytes) Whistle from above right  
ActWithoutWords-t0032.jpg (10834 bytes) A tiny carafe, to which is attached a huge label inscribed WATER,  
  ActWithoutWords-t0033.jpg (10926 bytes)

descends from flies to some three yards from ground where it remains dangling.

  ActWithoutWords-t0034.jpg (11070 bytes) He continues to reflect.  
  ActWithoutWords-t0035.jpg (11053 bytes)

Whistle from above.

  ActWithoutWords-t0036.jpg (11197 bytes) He looks up, sees carafe, reflects, gets up, goes and stands under it, tries in vain to reach it, renounces, turns aside, reflects.  
ActWithoutWords-t0038.jpg (10911 bytes)

He turns, sees third cube, looks at it,

  ActWithoutWords-t0039.jpg (10885 bytes)
ActWithoutWords-t0040.jpg (10603 bytes)

turns aside,

  ActWithoutWords-t0041.jpg (10919 bytes)
ActWithoutWords-t0043.jpg (10661 bytes)

Whistle from left wing.

Virtual butterfly while looking at hands.

ActWithoutWords-t0044.jpg (10614 bytes)

He does not move.

(A pair of tailor scissors descends from flies.)

  ActWithoutWords-t0045.jpg (11256 bytes) He looks at his hands, looks around for scissors, sees them,  
  ActWithoutWords-t0046.jpg (12675 bytes) goes and picks them up,  
ActWithoutWords-t0047.jpg (12746 bytes)  

starts to trim his nails,

  ActWithoutWords-t0048.jpg (11643 bytes)


ActWithoutWords-t0049.jpg (11742 bytes)


  ActWithoutWords-t0050.jpg (11611 bytes)

runs his finger along blade of scissors,

(He looks up...)

  ActWithoutWords-t0051.jpg (10196 bytes) The carafe is pulled up and disappears in flies. The bough returns to horizontal, the palms open, the shadow returns.  
ActWithoutWords-t0052.jpg (10951 bytes)

Whistle from above.
He does not move.

  ActWithoutWords-t0053.jpg (9473 bytes)

The tree is pulled up and disappears in flies

(Tree rises into flies.)

  ActWithoutWords-t0054.jpg (5350 bytes)
  ActWithoutWords-t0055.jpg (5372 bytes)
  ActWithoutWords-t0056.jpg (5559 bytes)
ActWithoutWords-t0057.jpg (6938 bytes)

The above is an experiment in visual play between the real and virtual. "Act Without Words" is a mimed drama written by Samuel Beckett containing only stage directions.

"Act Without Words I is a short play by Samuel Beckett. It is a mime, Beckett's first (followed by Act Without Words II). Like many of Beckett's works, the play was originally written in French (Acte sans paroles I), being translated into English by Beckett himself. It was written in 1956 and first performed on April 3 1957 at the Royal Court Theatre in London. On that occasion it followed a performance of Endgame. The original music to accompany the performance was written by John Beckett, Samuel's cousin (who would later collaborate with him on the radio play Words and Music)".


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