Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Berlin meets Lone Pine and PPG

We welcome our newest Metabolic Studio Artist in Residence, Walter Asmus, to Owens Valley. He will be here through the weekend - you will find him wearing round spectacles, elegant, basic black and getting his morning cup at the Espresso Parlor! Please introduce yourself to him!

Having worked with Beckett for more than 15 years, Walter Asmus is described as “the world’s most definitive director of Beckett’s work.”

Walter Asmus is a well-known German theater director who worked with Beckett on many occasions for the stage and television, from the time they first met at the Schiller Theatre in Berlin in 1974. He became his assistant director on their famous production of Waiting for Godot, which toured internationally. He has directed all of Beckett's plays internationally including Waiting for Godot at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York in 1978 and the Gate Theatre in 1988. His television work includes Footfalls, Rockaby and Eh Joe with Billie Whitelaw, and a French version of Waiting for Godot with Roman Polanski as Lucky. Walter directed Waiting for Godot in 1991 for the Gate Theatre's Beckett Festival. It was subsequently shown in Chicago, Seville, New York, Melbourne, Toronto, London and on tour in the US in the year 2000. He was co-organizer and Artistic Director of the international festival, Beckett in Berlin 2000, which took place in September of that year. In 2000/2001 he directed the filming of Footfalls with Susan FitzGerald for the Beckett on Film project in Dublin. In 2004 he directed Waiting for Godot at 7 Stages and for the Rubicon Theatre in Ventura, CA. In 2005, he directed the first Chinese production of Endgame in Mandarin in Shanghai, China. This year he directed a stage adaptation of Beckett's Novella First Love for the Writer’s Festival in Sydney. Further, his Dublin production of Waiting for Godot opens in October in Washington DC and subsequently tours the United States. Walter was a friend of Beckett's until the writer’s death in 1989.

Samuel Beckett’s work is a true cornerstone of postmodernism. His influence has been inescapable in not only theatre (giving rise to playwrights like Pinter and Mamet), but in many aspects of culture, through its personification of a hopeless post-World War II worldview and pessimistic attitude pointed towards the lowest common denominator of human capability. In 1947, Beckett wrote his trilogy of novels: Molly, Malone Dies and The Unnamable. He also wrote the play Waiting for Godot at this time. Godot had its first production in 1953, and its success made the reclusive Beckett an international figure. Other Beckett plays include Endgame and Krapp’s Last Tape. Beckett was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969, but shunned the presentation ceremony. He later died in Paris on December 22, 1989.

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