I’ve just listened to Samuel Beckett’s play Krapp’s Last Tape, a version broadcast on April 9th 2006 by Radio 3. Krapp is performed by Corin Redgrave.
Every year on his birthday, Krapp, who is a writer, records a tape. Krapp is making his sixty-nineth tape. In the play we listen to the sixty-nine year old Krapp, and listen with him as he listens back to recordings from earlier birthdays.
I love how the structure of the play alludes to how we visit, and re-visit memories, how we change them, how our feelings about them change over time, or don’t, how they can become distant or instantly refreshed, holding a power and weight of meaning that surprises us.
I love how the mechanical noise of the tape spooling in the recorder marks the passing of time, like a clock. And marks the passing of Krapp’s time.
In his introduction, the Radio 3 presenter Robbie Meredith says that Beckett had been inspired by listening to a tape recording of one of his own plays:
“Beckett became fascinated by the quality of recorded sound, the way it creates present history, and yet plays with time”