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By Samuel Beckett

 24 MAY - 3 JUNE, 2023 

Explosives Factory
Rear Laneway 67 Inkerman Street, St Kilda.

Playwright Samuel Beckett 

CAST Robert Meldrum

DIRECTOR Richard Murphet

On. Say on. Somehow on . Till all at last is gone.

The Australian premiere of Samuel Beckett’s final major piece of writing, Worstward Ho. Widely recognised as ‘one of the supreme poetic texts of the 20th century,’ it is, however, little known, rarely read and even more rarely presented. It is vital that we give this classic its due attention, infusing it with new life, revealing its critical relevance for our times. The solo performer, Rob Meldrum, has been a treasured figure in Melbourne theatre for 5 decades, and this will be an ambitious artistic challenge for him, tackling a text so complex, so desperate, so revolutionary and so urgent.


Daily news constantly reminds us that our human race is at a critical watershed moment. We are urged to change our ways of inhabiting this world, lest we tip our planet and its life-forms over the edge of extinction. The enemies to this necessary shift are the forces of greed, power, misleading rhetoric and the constant accumulation of material possessions. In Worstward Ho, we watch an individual like ourselves facing up to these dark forces, tackling the task of shedding all elements and words unnecessary to the sheer continuation of life. He displays a moving, determined, often hilarious, absolutely essential commitment.


In its unrelenting need to keep gnawing at the problem, Worstward Ho often has a crazed state about it, bordering on a kind of psychotic heroism. However, it is never glum or self-important. There is a refreshing lightness of tone, a kind of dry humour and a refusal to indulge in emotionality or spectacle. In his very normal daily setting, a man thinks aloud while constantly pacing his room.


Worstward Ho is truly a parable for our times.

Previous work by Richard Murphet


'The Inhabited Woman represents a floating world, a disconnected place in which both audience and on-stage figures drift into dreamy, atemporal states, before one suddenly catches one’s breath and lightly steps forward into the next, deliberately artificial, theatrical realm. Like tide lapping at a shore, the production beckons and captures the audience before releasing its grip to leave us resting again on the soft surface of a dramaturgical shoreline.'

Review of The Inhabited Woman: Real Time, 2003.


The production of The Inhabited Man is a multi-dimensional feat which daringly employs an intoxicating collision of intense audio and layered visual text. The result is a production which not only reinforces the story-telling reach of Murphet’s script, but also intensifies the theatre experience for audiences. The Inhabited Man is a riveting and thought-propelling play about a man snared in the horrific embrace of a war which never ends.

Review of The Inhabited Man: Australian Stage, 2009.


 ‘It is the physicality of the production which most impresses. We sense the possibility of something new, something beyond the serried repetitions of the silver screen.’

Review of Quick Death and Slow Love: Real Time, 2015.


‘This is what the theatre can be... And those engaged in the craft should see and remember this. productions such as this that may be all we have left to sustain communities in that desire to express the inexpressible. Please, do get along and see it.’

Review of The Absence of Knowing: Melbourne Theatre Blog, 2017.


‘This production of Bernard-Marie Koltes’ play is a testimony to personal courage and conviction, unqualified intellectual rigour, the endeavour of a lifetime, and a homage to the theatre as it is yet to arrive…’

Review of The Solitude of the Cotton Fields: Melbourne Theatre Blog, 2019.


''Richard Murphet is a theatre artist whose work pushes the edge of the theatrical frame. The metaphor of the edge allows for an emphasis on Murphet’s experimentation with theatrical form and his crossing of the borders of theatre, performance, poetry, music, dance and media. His texts feature subjects on the edge of life, death, love, comedy, sanity and paranoia. His characters bear wounds that are physical, emotional and psychic and are connected to postmodern life, wars in Vietnam, terror, battles in the kitchen and motel rooms, and to music and to cinema. His recurring use of blackouts, gunshots, flickering light and bomb blasts push at the edge of aesthetics with alternating grunge energy and sophisticated style."


This interview was filmed in the lead up to our production of The Darkening Sky - written and directed by Richard Murphet.


During his long career as an actor, Robert has performed at The Australian Performing Group (APG), The Melbourne Theatre Company, The Sydney Theatre company, The South Australian Theatre Company, Theatreworks, Playbox, The Bell Shakespeare Company, The Church Theatre and La Mama. He has been the recipient of or nominated for 5 Greenroom Awards, and from 2001 -3 was President of the Green Room Awards Org. Robert is also a theatre director and teacher and was Lecturer in Acting for eight years at the Drama School VCA.  He currently teaches at Brave Studio and The National Theatre Drama School.

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Samuel Barclay Beckett was an Irish novelist, dramatist, short story writer, theatre director, poet, and literary translator. His literary and theatrical work features bleak, impersonal and tragicomic experiences of life, often coupled with black comedy and nonsense. It became increasingly minimalist as his career progressed, involving more aesthetic and linguistic experimentation, with techniques of repetition and self-reference. He is considered one of the last modernist writers, and one of the key figures in what Martin Esslin called the Theatre of the Absurd.

A resident of Paris for most of his adult life, Beckett wrote in both French and English. During the Second World War, Beckett was a member of the French Resistance group Gloria SMH (Réseau Gloria). Beckett was awarded the 1969 Nobel Prize in Literature "for his writing, which—in new forms for the novel and drama—in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation". He was the first person to be elected Saoi of Aosdána in 1984.

Beckett wrote Worstward Ho in 1983.

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