Rockaby, Samuel Beckett's poetic solo piece in which a woman rocks towards her self-inflicted death in her mother's chair, went on temporary leave before its final performance at the Young Vic last Saturday. Kathryn Hunter, still in costume, took a taxi outside the theatre for St John's Wood High Street. There, she made for the third-floor flat of Blanche Marvin, who is bed-bound after two serious operations.
Blanche is the same age (83) and just as formidable as the director of the Young Vic run, Peter Brook, and is one of the most vital and perceptive of First Nighters and founder of the Empty Space/Peter Brook Awards for fringe theatre. And the thinking behind this one-off and quietly historic event is thus: if Blanche cannot get to the theatre, let the theatre come to Blanche.
Hunter's bedside presentation of Rockaby exemplified the truth of Brook's celebrated view, that all you need to create theatre is a performer, an observer and an empty space. His productions have been conceived for a wild variety of spaces around the globe. From a carpet set down in village squares in Africa to a domestic carpet in north London, this was the first time his theatre had bestowed itself on a private home.