The work of Company SJ demonstrates a distinctive aesthetic that is fundamental to their site-responsive productions, and originates from the company’s Artistic Director Sarah-Jane Scaife.
The company looks to fuse performance and research as an active artistic engagement, presenting the work of Samuel Beckett and W. B. Yeats from and for a 21st century Ireland and, through that initial exploration, for a wider international audience.
Having directed and lectured on Beckett’s drama for many years throughout Asia, Europe and in New York, Sarah Jane began to feel submerged in his writing all around her on the streets of Dublin. Her artistic and aesthetic intention is to put flesh on the words and actions of Beckett’s characters and to re-insert his writing within the architecture and social spaces of the city of Dublin. It is from this very particular Irish experience that Company SJ has received many invitations to present this work both nationally and on the international stage.
Note on the venue, a large disused Georgian building in Dublin’s inner city:
No. 14 Henrietta Street was built for Richard Viscount Molesworth, between 1748–1755. The house is now most associated with almost a century of tenement life. The worn floorboards, flaking wall paint, strips of wallpaper, scribbles and nail marks on the walls are all fragile remnants of this time. In 1901 seventeen families amounting to 100 people lived in the house, while over 800 lived on the street.
The installation of the production of Act Without Words II took place in St John’s Lane, by Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin; subsequently the same design was re-placed, or re-situated, in a number of locations in Dublin, Watford, Greenwich, New York City, Limerick, and Enniskillen.
In 2013 it was part of the project Beckett in the City with Rough For Theatre I as an installation in City Quay car park, Dublin. This installation subsequently toured to Tokyo and to the Barbican’s Beckett Festival, London. In each presentation of these pieces, they interact afresh with the architecture and social spaces wherein they are placed.