W2, M, W1
Front centre, touching one another, three identical grey urns about one yard high. From each a head protrudes, the neck held fast in the urn’s mouth. The heads are those, from left to right as seen from the auditorium, of W2, M and W1. They face undeviatingly front throughout the Play.
—Opening stage directions, Samuel Beckett’s Play (1963)
W2, M, W1 pairs the text and stark set design of Samuel Beckett’s Play with physical exercise and contemporary dance. W2, M, W1 refers to Play’s stock romantic characters—a woman, a man and his mistress—and resituates their affair within the context of movement. In contrast to the urn-dwelling actors in Play, the performers in W2, M, W1 appear on exercise mats, where they simultaneously deliver their lines and explore somatics–from the structured sequences of the Feldenkrais Method to the more free-form partnering of Contact Improvisation. In one possible iteration of the performance, the characters speak compulsively but move with increasing fluidity, pushing the capacity for refinement and differentiation in their gestures and playing on our understanding of body and voice. In conversation with Beckett’s Play, where the habitual isolation of the characters prevents them from establishing any sense of connection, W2, M, W1 explores the human capacity for invigorating communication and nonverbal play.