MCLA Presents! to Bring One of World's Foremost Beckett Interpreters to Campus


NORTH ADAMS, MA - Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' MCLA Presents! series will continue its 2010- 2011 season on Wednesday, Nov. 17, with "First Love," an early novella by Samuel Beckett, as interpreted and performed by Conor Lovett of the Gare St. Lazare Players Ireland.

In "First Love," a young man expelled from the family home upon the death of his father, takes refuge on a bench by a canal. There, he meets a woman who takes him home with comically disastrous consequences. "First Love" contains much of Beckett's distinctive black humor and a plot that is regarded as a masterpiece of the author's perversity, according to Jonathan Secor, director of special programs at MCLA.

Lovett trained at Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris. His work with the Gare St Lazare Players Ireland gained him a reputation as the greatest living Beckett interpreter, Secor said.

Lovett  has performed 17 Beckett roles in 23 different Beckett productions throughout Ireland and the United Kingdom, as well as in China, France, Germany, Holland, Israel, the United States and Spain.

The Irish Times calls Conor's one-man performance "disarming and startling, carrying a singular, ironic achievement; the character may turn his back on the living, yet this performance brings rich new life to his words."

The New York Times said "(First Love)... is such a pleasing triumph because its gallows humor emerges so organically, the result of a prepared actor with a deep understanding of the text."

The Gare St Lazare Players Ireland (GSLPI) came out of the original Gare St Lazare Players, an international company based simultaneously in Ireland and France with workshop/rehearsal facilities outside Paris. The original group was founded in Chicago by Bob Meyer in 1983 and moved to France in 1988.

Judy Hegarty Lovett and Conor Lovett have been running the Irish operation since 1995. For over 10 years, GSLPI have performed recitals of prose texts by Beckett in a variety of venues and festivals around the world.

Beckett wrote "First Love," a short story, in 1946. It was first published in 1973.

MCLA Presents! First Love will be performed in the MCLA Church Street Center on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2010 at 7:30 p.m. "First Love" is co-presented with MCLA's English and fine and performing arts departments.

General admission is $12. Tickets are $8 for MCLA alumni and $5 for MCLA faculty and staff as well as non-MCLA students. Tickets are free for MCLA Presents! members and MCLA students. To reserve tickets, call (413) 662-5204.

For additional information and a complete listing of the season, call (413) 664-8718 or visit presents.

MCLA Presents! is a project of MCLA's Berkshire Cultural Resource Center ( bcrc).