ofKRAPP'S LAST TAPE
 A late evening in the nineteen eighties.
 Krapp's den.
 Front centre, a small table, the two drawers of which open towards audience.
 Sitting at the table, facing front, i.e. across from the drawers, a wearish old man: Krapp.
 Rusty black narrow trousers too
small short for him.  Rusty black sleeveless waistcoat, four capacious pockets.  Heavy silver watch and chain.  Grimy white shirt open at neck, no collar.  Surprising pair of dirty white boots, size ten, very narrow and pointed.
 Pallid face.  Purple nose.  Disordered
hair? hair.  Unshaven.
 Very near-sighted (but unspectacled).  Hard of hearing.
 Cracked voice. 
Peculiar accent or intonantion . Unmistakable intonation Distinctive intonation.
Walking an effort. Laborious walk.
 On the table a tape-recorder with microphone and a number of cardboard boxes containing reels of recorded tapes.
nble and immediately adjacent area in strong white light.  Rest of sta hge in darkness.
 Krapp remains a moment motionless, heaves a great sigh,
then looks at his watch, fumbles in his waistcoat pockets, takes out an envelope, puts it back, fumbles, takes out a small bunch of keys, raises it to his eyes, chooses a key, gets up and moves to front of table.  He stoops, unlocks a first drawer, peers into it, feels about inside it, takes out a reel [⁁] of tape, [⁁] peers at it, puts it back, closes and locks drawer, unlocks and opens the other second drawer, peers into [⁁] it, feels about inside it, takes out a large banana, holds it up between peers at it finger and thumb, closes and locks drawer, puts keys back in his pocket.  He turns, advances to edge of stage, halts, caresses strokes banana, peels it, drops skin at his feet, puts end of banana in hiin his mouth and remains motionless, staring vacuously before him.  Finally he bites off the end, turns aside and begins pacing to and fro at edge of stage, in the light, i. 'e. not more than four or five paces either way, meditatively eating banana.  He treads on skin, sl oips, nearly falls, recovers himself, stoops and peers at skin and finally pushes it, still stooping, with his foot over the edge of stage into pit.  He resumes his pacing, finishes banana, returns to table, sits down, remains a moment motionless, [⁁] heaves a great sigh, [⁁] takes keys from his pocket, raises them to his eyes, chooses a key, gets up and moves to front of table, opens banana second drawer, takes out a second large banana, holds it up between peers at it, finger and thumnb, locks drawer, puts keys back in his pocket, turns and advances to edge of s rtage, halts, caresses strokes banana, peels it, puts tosses skin in his pocket into pit, puts end of banana in his mouth and remains motionless, staring vacuously before him. [p. 2r]  Finally he has an idea, drops banana at his feet, turns and goes with all the speed he can muster, backstage into darkness.  Ten seconds.  Loud pop of cork.  Fifteen seconds.  He comes back into light carrying an old ledger and sits down at table.  He lays ledger on table, wi opes his mouth, wipes his hands on the front of his waistcoat, brings them smartly together and rubs them.
.).  Ah!  (He bends o over ledger, turns the pages, finds the entry he wants, reads.)  Box...thrree...spool...five. ( He raises his head and stares front.  With relish.)
 Spool!  (Pause.)  Spooool! ( Happy smile. [⁁]
 He bends over table, starts peering and poking at the boxes.)
 Box...thrree...thrree...four...two...(with surprise) nine! good God!...seven...ah! the little rascal!  (He hold holds up a box between finger and thumb takes up box, peers at it.)  Box thrree.  (He lays it on table, opens it and peers at the spools inside.)  Spool...(he peers at ledger)...five. (He peers at spools.) Five...five..ah! the little scoundrel!  (He takes out a spool, holds it up between gfinger and thumb. peers at it.)  Spool five.  (He lays it on table, closes box three, puts it back with the others. He takes up spool.)  Box thrree, spool five. ( He bends over machine, looks up.  With relish.)
 Spooool! ( Happy smile.) smile. [0058|001] Pause.
 He bends, loads spool on machine, rubs his hands.)
 Ah) Ah!  (He peers at ledger. Reading entry at foot of page.)  Mother at rest at last... The black ball... (He raises his head, stares blankly front.
 Black ball?... ([0067|001] Pause
 He peers again at ledger, reads.)  The dark n yurse... (He raises his head, broods, peers again at ledger, reads.)  sSlight Iimprovement in bowel condition... Memorable...what?  (He peers closer.)  Equinox, memorable equinox. ( He raises his head, stares blankly front.)  Memorable equinox?... (Pause.  He shrugs his shoulders, peers again at ledger, reads.)  Farewell to - (he turns the page) - love.
 He raises his head, broods, bends over machine, switches it on and assumes listening posture, i.e. leaning forward, elbows on table, hand cupping ear towards machine, face front.)
 [⁁] (Strong voice, rather pompous, clearly Krapp's at a much earlier time).  Thirty-nine today, sound as a -  (Settling himself more comfortably he knocks one of the boxes off the table, curses, switches off, sweeps boxes and ledger violently to the ground, winds tape back to beginning, switches on,
eresumes posture.)  Thirty-nine today, sound as a ...(hesitates)...whistle bell, apart from my old weakness, and intellec utually I have now every reason to suspect at the...(hesitates)...crest of my powers the wave - or½ or thereabouts.  Celebrated the awful occasion, as in recent years, quietly at the Winehouse.  Not a soul.  Sat before the fite fire with closed eyes, separating the grain from the chaff husks.  Jotted down a few notes, on the back of an envelope.  Good to be back in my den, in my old rags.  Have just eaten I regr aet to say three bananas and only with difficulty refrained from a fourth.  Fatal things for a man with my condition.  [⁁] ( violently Vehemently) [⁁]  Cut 'em out! out!  (Pause.)  The new light above my table is a great improvement.  With all this darkness round me I feel less alone.  (Pause.)  In a way.  (Pause.)  I love to get up and move about in it, then back here to...(hesitates)...me.  (Pause.)  Krapp.
 The grain, now what do I mean by that, I mean...(hesitates)...I suppose I mean those things worth having when all the dust has - when all my dust has settled.  I close my eyes and try and imagine them.
 Long pause.
 Extraordinary silence this evening, I strain my ears and do not hear a sound.  Old Miss McGlo
neme always sings at this hour.  But not tonight.  Songs of her girlhood, she says.  Hard to think of her as a girl.  Wonderful woman though.  Conna ughtcht, I fancy.  (Pause.)  Shall I sing when I am her age, if I ever am?  No.  (Pause.)  Did I sing as a boy?  No.  (Pause.)  Did I ever sing?  No.
 Have just been listening to an old year, passages at random.  I did not check it in the book, but it must be at least ten or twelve years ago.  At that time I think I was still living on and off with Bianca, in Street.  Well out of that, Jesus yes
.!  Hopeless business.  (Pause.)  Not much about her, just apart from a tribute to her eyes.  Very warm.  I suddenly saw them again.  (Pause.)  Incomparable!  (Pause.)  Ah well...  (Pause.) DOODLE 2  These old P.M.s are gruesome, but I always find the them - (He switches off, broods, switches on again.) - a great help before embarking on a new...(hesitates)...retrospect ion.  Hard to believe I was ever that young whelp.  The voice!  Jesus!  And the aspirations!  (Brief laugh in which Krapp joins.)  And the resolutions!  (Brief laugh in which Krapp joins.)  To drink less, of all things!  (Brief laugh of Krapp alone.)  Statistics.  Seventeen hundred hours, out of the preceding eight thousand odd, consumed on licensed premises alone.  More than 20%, say 40% of his waking life.  (Pause.)  Plans for a less...(hesitates)...engrossing sexual life.  Last illness of his father.  Flagging pursuit of happiness.  Unattainable laxation.  Sneers at what he calls his youth ., relief that and thanks to God that it is over -  false ring.  Shadow of the magum magnum - opus magnum (pause) - opus.  Closing with a - (brief laugh) - yelp to Providence.  (Prolonged laugh in which Krapp joins.)  What remains of all that misery?  A girl in a shabby green coat, on a railway-station platform?  No?
 When I look - 
(Krapp switches off, broods, looks at his watch and goes backstage into darkness.  Ten seconds.  Pop of cork.  Ten seconds.  Pop of second cork.  Ten seconds.  Pop of third cork.
 —Ten seconds.  Brief burst of wavering song. quavering song.
Now the day is over,
Night is drawing nigh-igh,
 Fit of coughing.  He comes back into light, sits down, wipes his mouth, switches on, resumes his posture.
 - back on the year that is gone, with what I hope is perhaps
something a glint of the old eyes to come, there is of course the house on the canal where mother lay a-dying, in the early autumn, after
her long viduity (Krapp gives a start ,), and the -  (Krapp switches off, winds back tape a little, bends his ear closer to machine, switches on)  - a-d aying, in the early autumn, after her long viduity, and the - ( Krapp switches off, raises his head, stares blankly before him.  His lips move in the syllables of viduity "viduity".  No sound. He gets up, goes backstage into darkness, comes back with an enormous dictionary, sits down, lays it on the table, looks up the word. ,) reads (quotes definition if possible), nods, closes dictionary, switches on, resumes pose.)
:(reading from dictionary).  State of being - or remaining - a widow - or widower. ( Looks up.
 Being - or remain?... remaining?... ( Peers ( Returns to Peers again at dictionary.  Reading.)
 "Deep weeds of viduity."...  Also of an ann animal, especially a bird... the vidua or weaving-bird...  black plumage of males. ( looks up.  With relish.)
 The vidua bird!
 (cl He closes dictionary, switches on, resumes posture.
 - bench by the weir from where I could see her window.  There I sat, wishing she were gone.  (Pause.)  Deserted spot it was, just a few re
fgulars, nursemaids, infants, iold men, dogs, I got to know them quite well - oh by appearance of course I mean!  One dark young beauty I recollect particularly, all white and starch, incomparable bosom, with a big black hooded pram perambulator, most funereal thing.  Whenever I looked in her direction she had her eyes on me.  And yet when I was rash enough to speak to her , - not having been introduced , - she threatened to call a policeman. ( Pause.)  The eye The face she had!  The eys! eyes!  Like...(hesitates)... moonstone chrysolite!  (Pause.)  [⁁] Ah well...  (Pause.)  I was there when - (Krapp switches off, broods, switches on again) - thea the blind went down, one of those dirty brown roller affairs, throwing a ball for a wire-haired fox-terrier bitch, as chance would have it.  I happened to look up and there it was.  All over and done with, at last.  I sat on for a few moments with the ball in my hand and the bitch dog yelping and pawing at me.  (Pause.)  Moments. [0228|001] (Pause.)  Her moments. My moments.  (Pause.)  The bithc bitch's dog's moments.  (Pause.)  In the end I held it out to her him and she he took it in her his mouth, gently.  A small, old, black, solid rubber ball.  (Pause.)  I shall feel it, in my hand, until my dying day.  (Pause.)  I wish I had [⁁] might have kept it.  (Pause.)  But I gave it to the bitch dog.
 Ah well...
 Spiritually a year of profound gloom and indigence, until that memorable night in March, at the end of the jetty, in the howling wind, never to be forgotten, when suddenly I saw the whole thing.  The vision, at last.  This I imagine is what I have chiefly to record this evening, against the day when my work will be done and perhaps no place left in my memory,
nor no warm or cold place, for the miracle that...(hesitates)...for the fire that set it alight.  What I suddenly saw then was this, that the belief I had been going on all my life, namely -  (Krapp switches off impatiently, winds tape forward, switches on)  - granite great granite rocks the foam flying up in the light of the beacon and the windgauge spinning like a propellor, clear to me at last that the dark I have always struggled to keep under is in reality my most -  (Krapp curses, switches off, winds tape forward,switches on again)  - unshatterable association until my...(hesitates)...dissolution of storm and night with the light of the understanding and the -  (Krapp curses louder, switches
off, winds tape forward, switches on again)  - my face in her breasts and my hand on her.  We lay there without moving.  But under us all moved, and moved us, gently, up and down, and from side to side.
 Past midnight.  Never knew such silence.  The earth m
yight be uninhabited.
 Here I
end-( end -
mp switches off, winds tape back, switches on.
 - upper lake, with the punt, bathed off the bank, then pushed out into the stream and drifted.  She lay stretched out on the floorboards with her hands under her head and her eyes closed.  Sun blazing down, b
uit of a breeze, water nice and lively.  I noticed a scratch on her thigh and asked her how she came by it.  Picking gooseberries, she said.  I said again I thought it was ho epeless and no good going on, and she agreed, without opening her eyes.  (Pause.)  I asked her to look at me and after a few moments - (pause) - after a few moments she did, but the eyes just slits, because of the glare.  I bent over her to get them in the shadow and they opened. ( Pause.  Low.)  Let me in.  (Pause.)  We drifted in among the reeds and stuck.  The way they bent, sighing, before the stem!  (Pause.)  I lay down across her with my face in her breasts and my hand on her.  We lay without moving.  But under us all moved, and moved us, gently, up and down, and from side to side.
 Past midnight.  Never knew -
 Krapp switches off, broods.  Finally he fumbles in his waistcoat pockets, encounters the banana-skin, peers at it,
hthrows it away, fumbles, brings out the envelope, fumbles, puts back envelope, looks at his watch, gets up and goes backstage into darkness.  Ten seconds.  Sound of bottle against glass, then brief siphon.  Ten seconds.  Bottle against glass alone.  Fifteen Ten seconds.  He comes back a little unsteadily into light, goes to front of table, takes out keys, raises them to his eyes, chooses key, opens first drawer, peers into it, feels about inside it, takes out reel, holds it up between finger and thumb [⁁] peers at it, locks drawer, [⁁] puts keys back in his pocket goes and sits down, takes reel off machine, lays it on dictionary, loads virgin reel on machine, takes envelope from his pocket, consults back of it, lays it on table, switches on, joins tips of fingers, clears throat and begins to record.
 Just been listening to that stupid bastard I took myself for thirty years ago, hard to believe I was ever as bad as that.  Thank
God Christ that's all over and down the drain done with anyway.  (Pause.)  The eyes she had! (
 Broods, realizes he is recording silence, switches off, broods.  Finally.)  Everything there, everything, al all the -  (Realizes this is not being recorded, switches on.)  Everything there, everything on this lousy earth, all the light and dark and famine and feasting of...(hesitates ½)...the ages!  (In a shout.)  Yes!  (Pause.)  Let that go!  Jesus! DOODLE 4  Take his mind off his homework!  Jesus! ( Pause.  Weary.)  Ah well, maybe he was right.  (Pause.)  Maybe he was right. (
 Broods.  Realizes.  Switches off.  Consults envelope.)  Pah! ( Crumples it and throws it away.  Broods.  Switches on.)  Nothing to say, not a squeak.  What's a year now?  Chewed Sour [⁁] cuds and hard long [⁁] adamantine hard stools. [⁁]  The sour cud and the hard stool. [⁁]  (Pause.)  Revelled in the word spool.  (With relish.)  Spooool!  Happiest moment of the year [⁁] past half million [⁁].  (Pause.)  Seventeen copies sold, of which eleven at half price a discount trade price to free lending circulating libraries in the beyond the seas. dominions.  Getting known.  (Pause.)  One pound six and something, eight I have little doubt.  (Pause.)  Crawled out once or twice, before the summer was cold.  Sat shivering in the park, drowned in dreams and wishing I was panting burning to be gone.  Not a soul.  (Pause.)  Last fancies.  ( Violently Vehemently.)  Go mad altogether if I don't keep them under. Go mad altogether if I don't. Keep 'em under! [0342|001] (Pause.) [0342|002] Resolutions. [0342|003] (Pause.) [0342|004] Aspirations.  5(Pause.)  Scal eded the eyes out of me reading Effie again, a page a day, with tears again.  Effie... (Pause.)  Might have be Could have been happy with her, up there on the Baltic, and the pines, and the dunes.  (Pause.)
 Could I?
 And she?
 Fanny came in a couple of times.  Bony old ghost of a whore.  Couldn't do much, but I suppose better than nothing.  The last time wasn't so bad.  How do you manage it, she said, at your age .?  Told her I'd been saving up for her all my life.  (Pause.)  Went to Vespers once, like when I was in short trousers. ( Pause.  Sings.)
 Now the day is over,
Night is drawing nigh - igh
Shadows - (
fFit e of coughing. Faintly.) - of the evening
Steal across the sky.
(Gasps.) [⁁]  Went to sleep and fell off the pew.  (Pause.)  Sometimes wondered in the night if a last effort mightn't -  (Pause.)  Ah empty your bottle now and get to your bed ?.  Finish this puke drivel in the morning.  Or leave it at that.  (Pause.)  Leave it at that.  (Pause.)  Lie propped up in the dark - and wander. [0377|001] (Pause.)  Be again in the dingle on a Christmas Eve, gathering holly, the red-berried.  (Pause.)  Be again on Croghan on a Sunday morning, in the haze, with the collie bitch, stop and listen t to the bells.  (Pause.)  And so on.  (Pause.)  Be again, be again.  (Pause.)  All that old misery.  (Pause.)  Once wasn't enough for you me you.  (Pause.)  Lie down across her. ( Long pause.  He suddenly bends over machine, switches off, wrenches off tape, throws it away, puts on the other, winds it forward to the passage he wants, switches on, listens staring fro front.
Gosseberries, she said - goo es seberries she said.  I said agai hn I thought it was hopeless and no good going on, and she agreed, without opening her eyes.  (Pause.)  I asked her to look at lme
and after a few moments - (pause) - after a few moments she did, but the eyes just slits, because of the gl oare.  I bent over her to get them in the shadow and they opened.  (Pause (Pause.  Low.)
 Let me in.  (Pause a.)  We drifted in among the reeds and stuck.  The way they bent, sighing, before the stem!  (Pause.)  I lay down across her with my gface in her breasts and my hand on her.  We lay without moving.  But under us all moved, and moved us, gently, up and down, and from side to side.
 Pause.  Krapp's lips move.  No sound.
 Past midnight.  Never knew such silence.  The earth might be uninhabited.
 Here I end this reel.  Box - (pause) - three, spool - (pause) - five.  (Pause.)  Perhaps my best years are gone.  When there was a chance of happiness.  But I would
'n't want them bac lk.  Not with the fire burning in me now.  No, I wouldn't want them back.
 Krapp motionless staring before him.  The tape runs on in silence.
Note on technique of tape-recorder
for Jake Schwartz