Robert Wilson, photo Ling Jing Yuan

Robert Wilson

Director | Actor


Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape is a solo/dialogue. One actor onstage carries on a conversation with his own voice recorded many years before. An old man sitting alone in his ‘den’ on his birthday gets ready to make a recording about the past year of his life, as he has done on every birthday since he was a young man. Getting ready to make the new recording, he listens to a recording he made some 30 years before, at the end of a year that was perhaps the last truly happy one in his life. Bitter, funny, ironic, he finds it hard to recognize himself in the brash, romantic, confident voice of his youth.

Robert Wilson not only directs and designs, but also performs the work, his first appearance as an actor since his Hamlet: A Monologue (last performed in 2000). The work provides a unique opportunity for his performing talent, being a blend of his signature highly detailed and rigorous integration of movement, lighting and sound, and within that framework, a structure that leaves a great deal of freedom for the spontaneity of response that makes his live performance so exciting.

Wilson has often been compared with Beckett, both being masters of the stark simplicity that is one of the most difficult artistic achievements. Nothing is extraneous, not a word, not a movement. In the brief hour of this work, Beckett and Wilson in a few simple strokes paint a vision of the world that is very particular and at the same time universal.
Sue Jane Stoker

  • Change Performing Arts
  • Director and performer — Robert Wilson
  • Text — based on Krapp’s Last Tape by Samuel Beckett
  • Costumes and collaboration to the set design — Yashi
  • Lights — A.J. Weissbard
  • Sound — Peter Cerone, Jesse Ash
  • Associate director — Sue Jane Stoker
  • Assistant director — Charles Chemin
  • Technical director — Reinhard Bichsel
  • Lighting supervisor — Aliberto Sagretti
  • Sound engineer — Guillaume Dulac
  • Stage manager on tour — Thaiz Bozano
  • Chief stagehand — Violaine Crespin
  • Make-up artist — Manu Halligan
  • Robert Wilson’s personal assistant ― Owen Laub
  • Tour manager — Laura Artoni
  • Production — CRT Milano
  • Premiere — 28 June 2009

Project commissioned by Spoleto52 Festival dei 2 Mondi, Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg

  • With a protagonist who has a roguish air and a fat bum like Charlie Chaplin, this show can be seen as a homage to silent cinema.

    René Solis | Libération

  • On the spare set void of light, everything hinges on the rigour, the extreme precision and the work with the voice – the recorded voice and that of the aging Krapp. There is no nostalgia but self-deprecation […].

    Annie Chénieux | le

  • The production is mind-blowing, the interpretation superb. After an hour and ten minutes, one leaves the theatre shaken by the profundity of insight and acting, feeling that the truth expressed in writing and thoughts has never been so close at hand.

    Armelle Héliot | Le Figaro


Date and hour

5 November
6 November


Running time

70 minutes