Ac­tor is up for Beck­ett chal­lenge

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Weekly Life - SARA FITZ­PATRICK

WATCH­ING the works of Sa­muel Beck­ett is like watch­ing some­one in an ac­ci­dent and think­ing: ‘Thank heav­ens that isn’t me’, says vet­eran stage ac­tor Ge­off Kelso.

“Much like life in the real world is a bit bleak, so too is Beck­ett’s writ­ing,” he said.

“It’s re­ally a mat­ter of how much courage you have to say ‘OK, I’m brave, I can look at the world, I can watch this’.”

Kelso takes to the stage this week in Black Swan’s pro­duc­tion of Endgame – Beck­ett’s fa­mous one-act ab­sur­dist play – mark­ing his 22nd pro­duc­tion with the com­pany.

“The first pro­duc­tion I did with Black Swan was in 1991 – Twelfth Night – the com­pany’s in­au­gu­ral pro­duc­tion,” he said.

“I like the way the com­pany has a very WA flavour to it. An­drew Ross placed that play in Broome, or a place like Broome, back at the height of the pearling in­dus­try in the ’30s and it set a stan­dard for look­ing at the world through a WA lens so we aren’t just see­ing a Euro­pean view of the world.”

Back on board with key play­ers and good friends of yes­ter­year, Kelso takes on the role of Hamm, a man who can­not see or walk.

Kel­ton Pell and Ge­orge Shevtsov – who also ap­peared in that first pro­duc­tion of Twelfth Night – act along­side him and Ross is back as di­rec­tor.

“Some­times I think Beck­ett is such hard work and is so grim and then I start work­ing on it and think ‘Oh, this is fan­tas­tic’,” Kelso said.

“It is a chal­lenge be­cause he is very spe­cific in what he wants; even though he has passed away he has an es­tate that looks closely at his pro­duc­tions around the world to make sure peo­ple stick to what he wanted.

“Now of course with the in­ter­net they can search and go ‘What’s this mob do­ing?’. Pre­vi­ously there was a pro­duc­tion of Wait­ing for Godot in Perth in the ’80s which fea­tured all women and would not have been al­lowed.”

Kelso, a former stand-up co­me­dian, left Perth for Syd­ney at 19.

Af­ter at­tend­ing NIDA for three years, he re­turned to Perth to pur­sue his ca­reer on stage.

“I still get that same thrill from act­ing as I did at the start,” Kelso said.

“If I don’t feel ner­vous be­fore­hand, some­thing is wrong.”

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d468977

Vet­eran stage ac­tor Ge­off Kelso.

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