'The room was dark and full of people hastening to and fro, malefactors, policemen, lawyers, priests and journalists I suppose' (Beckett, Molloy)
Dennis O'Driscoll officially launched RTÉ Radio's special edition CD box-set of Beckett's Three Novels: Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnamable, as read by actor Barry McGovern, at an event last night in The Long Room at Trinity College Dublin.
Actor Barry McGovern, producer Tim Lehane and sound engineer Mark Duff spent over eight months together in studio recording this 19˝ hour collaborative work for RTÉ Radio, supported by the Lannan Foundation. Beckett scholar Gerry Dukes wrote the informative and collectable introduction to Samuel Beckett and the three novels which accompanies the CD.
Launching the Three Novels Dennis O'Driscoll said, "It is particularly important that there is a permanently available recording of Barry McGovern reading Beckett's trilogy as Barry is the definitive, contemporary interpreter of Beckett's work."
Adrian Moynes, Managing Director of RTÉ Radio, praised Barry McGovern's interpretation of Beckett saying "Barry McGovern's reading of the three novels is a revelation of all the various pleasures of these works -their comedy, their pathos and the pure beauty of Beckett's prose. This recording is a delight to the ear and to the mind."
Patrick Lannan, President of the Lannan Foundation, also spoke at the event.
In the notes accompanying the CD, Barry McGovern points out how appropriate it is that RTÉ has produced this recording, as Beckett's first work written for broadcast, The Capital of the Ruins, was for Radio Éireann (as RTÉ was then known in June 1946).
RTÉ Radio will broadcast the entire CD production of Beckett's three novels continuously from beginning to end on RTÉ Radio 1, MW and LW from 5.30 am on the centenary anniversary, 13 April 2006.
Beckett fans and scholars can read remarks from Barry McGovern, Tim Lehane and Mark Duff on the making of Beckett's Three Novels on the RTÉ Beckett 100 website www.rte.ie/beckett100.
The CD box set is on sale via www.rte.ie/shop and in retail outlets nationwide.
RTÉ Radio and Television are jointly celebrating the centenary under the banner of Beckett 100.
Barry McGovern was born in Dublin in 1948. He has had a long association with the work of Samuel Beckett, and is known as the greatest exponent of Beckett today. Over the years, he has appeared in numerous productions of Beckett's work including an hour-long 80th birthday tribute to Beckett broadcast on RTÉ. He performed in the Gate Beckett Festival which went on to be produced as a series of short films. He has been a member of the Abbey Theatre Company and the RTÉ Players.
A detailed biography of Barry McGovern is included with the RTÉ Three Novels box-set
Born in Thurles, Co. Tipperary in 1954. Dennis joined the civil service in 1970 where he still works. His work is often characterised by a preoccupation with image and narrative plotting. For some years his work was sidelined by critics, but the seriousness of his intelligence, the originality of his idiom and the relevance of his themes have at last led to his work receiving deserving prizes and awards in recent years. Dennis won the Lannan Foundation literary award in 1999 and has recently been elected to Aosdána. Dennis O'Driscoll introduced Barry McGovern to the Lannan Foundation, which initiated this RTÉ production.
The Lannan Foundation
Lannan Foundation is a family foundation dedicated to cultural freedom, diversity and creativity through projects which support exceptional contemporary artists and writers, as well as inspired Native activists in rural indigenous communities.
The foundation recognizes the profound and often unquantifiable value of the creative process and is willing to take risks and make substantial investments in ambitious and experimental thinking. Understanding that globalization threatens all cultures and ecosystems, the foundation is particularly interested in projects that encourage freedom of inquiry, imagination, and expression.
The foundation supports this mission with long-term special projects requiring multi-year commitments of funding and technical assistance in the areas of contemporary visual art, literature, indigenous communities, and issues of cultural freedom.
For further information see www.lannan.org