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On Beckett

July 14–17, 2022
(Opening night: Friday, July 15, 2022)

Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage
Old Globe Theatre
Conrad Prebys Theatre Center

Conceived and performed by Bill Irwin

Bill Irwin can’t escape Samuel Beckett. He has spent a lifetime captivated by the Irish writer’s language. In this intimate 90-minute evening, Irwin will explore a performer’s relationship to Beckett, mining the physical and verbal skills acquired in his years as a master clown and Tony Award–winning actor. Irwin’s approach to the comic, the tragic, to every side of Beckett’s work—including Waiting for Godot, Texts for Nothing, and more—will allow audiences to experience the language in compelling new ways. Whether you’re encountering the Nobel Prize winner’s writing for the first time, or building on a body of Beckett knowledge, this dynamic showcase is not to be missed.

The New York Times named the Off Broadway run of On Beckett a Critic’s Pick and said the production was “captivating… radiant, live theater.” New York magazine raved, “A delicious piece of theater… a playful, intimate experiment conducted by a master practitioner… utterly delightful.” And The Daily Beast exclaimed, “Near-90 minutes of pleasure… Irwin’s physical comedy is delicious… a brilliant gateway to understanding [Beckett].”

Press Release


Publicity Photos

Bill Irwin in Irish Repertory Theatre's virtual production of On Beckett. Photo courtesy of Irish Repertory Theatre/Carol Rosegg.
Bill Irwin in Irish Repertory Theatre's virtual production of On Beckett. Photo courtesy of Irish Repertory Theatre/Carol Rosegg.

Production Team

Bill Irwin is a Tony Award–winning actor, director, writer, and clown. His original works include The Regard of Flight, Largely New York (four Tony Award nominations), Fool Moon, Old Hats, The Happiness Lecture, and others. He has played in many Broadway, Off Broadway, and regional stage productions, including On Beckett, an evening of passages from Samuel Beckett’s work, at Irish Repertory Theatre; The Iceman Cometh; Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play); The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?; Waiting for Godot (2009 Drama Desk Award nomination); Endgame; The Tempest; Texts for Nothing; Garden of Earthly Delights; Accidental Death of an Anarchist; Showboat; and the Tony Award–winning Fool Moon, which he created with David Shiner. On television, Irwin appears as Mr. Noodle on “Elmo’s World” and Cary Loudermilk of “Legion.” The Regard of Flight, with Doug Skinner, Michael O’Connor, and Nancy Harrington, appeared on PBS. His film credits include Rachel Getting Married, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Eight Men Out, Interstellar, Stepping Out, The Unsilent Picture, and more. Irwin was an original member of Kraken, a theatre company directed by Herbert Blau, and was also an original member of the Pickle Family Circus of San Francisco with Larry Pisoni and Geoff Hoyle. Irwin is the grateful recipient of MacArthur, Guggenheim, Fulbright, and National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships.

Octopus Theatricals (Producer) Founded by creative producer Mara Isaacs, Octopus Theatricals collaborates with artists and organizations to foster an expansive range of compelling theatrical works for local and global audiences. They eschew boundaries—aesthetic, geopolitical, institutional—and thrive on a nimble and rigorous practice. Current projects include Hadestown by Anaïs Mitchell (Broadway, eight Tony Awards including Best Musical; Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album); (…Iphigenia), a new opera by Wayne Shorter and Esperanza Spalding; Social! Dance Club, conceived by Steven Hoggett, Christine Jones, and David Byrne; Dreaming Zenzile by Somi Kakoma; Up in Arms, created by Anna-Maria Nabirye and Annie Saunders; Theatre for One (in person and virtual); and many more. Octopus Theatricals is also home to the Producer Hub, an online resource supporting independent producers in the experimental and performing arts sectors. www.octopustheatricals.com.