About the play:
A radio play
Samuel Beckett’s ‘All That Fall’ is a radio drama commissioned by the BBC in 1956 and first broadcast on the Third Programme in 1957. Marking the arrival of the avant-garde and experimental drama on the BBC in the second half of the 20th Century, Beckett’s first use of radio in the production of a play caused a profound shift in the aesthetics of listening. First in a growing body of work, ‘All That Fall’ had far-reaching implications, from the technological advances in the BBC radio drama broadcasting to the contemporary-classical music of Phillip Glass. Above all, it explored the aural-centered relationship between the act of external listening (of sounds, music, and silences) and internal hearing (of character and listener’s inner voices) which is still inspiring today. The play follows the agonizing journey of elderly Maddy Rooney as she ventures along a country road to surprise her blind husband at the train station for his birthday. Along the way she meets an array of local people, some of them friendly, some of them not so much, all traveling in the same direction. When Maddy finally arrives at the station she is disconcerted to find her husband’s train is late. This event prompts much speculation and worry from Mrs. Rooney and other people at the station. When the train finally arrives, Mr. Rooney is cold and distant. Their slow and precarious journey back home is punctuated with Mr. Rooney’s tale of what happened to delay the service. But his account of the event and the half explanation that follows only increase its uncertainty and vagueness, leaving the audience once again in the dark.