Tonight, director, actor and CSU professor Eric Prince screens Samuel Beckett’s first teleplay “Eh Joe.” The film is about a man late in his life haunted by guilt and the voice of a woman.
The two-character 20-minute film features Wendy Ishii as The Voice and Eric Prince as Joe. It was filmed all in one take on a single camera dolly, and the first take became the finished product. Rather than add The Voice in post-production, Ishii performed live as the camera was rolling.
Beckett’s original piece was only shown once in 1966. “Because of copyright, you can’t see it again like a movie or a theatre performance, so I wanted to remake it,” Prince said. “We’re the only college or university in North American with a center for Beckett. We’re doing something no one else has done.”
“It’s a weird experimental piece that’s like a visual poem.”
Prince hasn’t acted for 25 years and he was nervous to perform in front of a camera. “I’m fine with stage acting, but this is different. In the last section, the camera is 12 inches from my face and I really have to concentrate.”
Ishii, adjunct professor at CSU and founder and artistic director of Bas Bleu Theatre Company, is excited to be a part of the play. “Beckett is never easy, but he’s the most addictive,” said Ishii. “He scares you to death and the work is physically difficult.”
“His pieces use a different part of the brain. It’s hypnotic. His language and rhythm is seductive for actors and the audience,” Ishii said. “He is a word wizard that makes you play with pauses; it’s like playing music.”
Not only will it be a premier screening for the public, but also for Ishii. “I haven’t seen it yet, but I hope the audience gets something out of it,” Ishii said.
Prince hopes that the screening has a large turnout. “It’s an incredibly rare piece that’s hardly even known,” Prince said. “He is one of the greatest writers of the 21st century. Even if you’re skeptical, you have to see why he is so revered.”
The showing will take place Thursday, Sept. 26 and Friday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. in the Large Acting Lab UCA 242. There may be a repeat screening at 8 p.m. both nights. It will also be shown Sunday, Sept. 29 at 7:30 p.m. at the Bas Bleu Theatre at 401 Pine Street. All showings will be free.