Billie Whitelaw stars in Samuel Beckett’s one-woman play Rockaby, which was written in 1980 at the request of Daniel Labeille, to tie-in with a festival and symposium celebrating Beckett’s 75th birthday.
The play focuses on a woman (W),who contemplates her life, and the loss of the things she had been unable to do, leaving her gently, slowly, to her own lonely demise.
““went and sat/at her window/facing other windows/so in the end/close of a long day/in the end went and sat/went back in and sat/at her window”
The play uses repetition, in a similar way a lullaby uses it to comfort a child, but here its purpose is to underscore Beckett’s view of the terrible loneliness and emptiness of the human condition. W searches for some positive affirmation of her life - “a little like.” The chair rocks in time with the words, as if its movement comforts and maintains her life. A dark, and many layered play, that rewards with a second viewing.
As for Whitelaw, she is, as always in Beckett’s plays, perfect.