by Padraic Killeen, 25th July 2015
When William Burroughs described to Samuel Beckett his famous ‘cut-up’ technique — a text is produced by cutting it up and then imposing a random new order upon the shreds — the Irishman was dismissive, reportedly telling the American: “That’s not writing — it’s plumbing.” It didn’t prevent Beckett from composing short prose in the vein of the Burroughs cut-up style, in 1969.
The result was ‘Lessness’, a ‘story’ of short fragments pitched together at random, yet with seductive shades of meaning.
This text has been converted into a performance piece by The Emergency Room and it’s one of the real treats at this year’s Galway Arts Festival.
Sitting at a long table, beneath a screen pulsating with white light, Olwen Fouéré delivers Beckett’s esoteric text in a vocal style that is splendidly impersonal — akin to a vocoder, and yet human nonetheless.