I saw John Hurt in Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape on a school trip in 2000 and absolutely loved it. Found this piece by Pinter on the play:
The key to the play
The last sentence of the tape is the key to the play. For the young man who made the recording, it is an affirmation of strength: he has had the vision, the fire is in him, and he knows what he must do. But, for the old man, listening to it motionless in the dark room, it is an echo of his renunciation. In the end, “all that old misery… the suffering of being” is in fact too much for him. So he defends himself against it by drink, bananas and slapstick.
Beckett’s earlier works were concerned with depression in its various manifestations; in comparison, “Krapp’s Last Tape” is far more human, open and available. Its subject is not depression but grief, and instead of shying away from its causes, it shows, poignantly and with great beauty, precisely what has been lost. Beckett allows Memory its due and how it becomes vulnerable to the malignant disease of Time.
That’s just the last paragraph. For the rest, click here.
Here’s the text