Variations are the theme

Published July 27, 2006

In celebration of the centennial of Samuel Beckett 1906-1989, one of his seminal plays, Krapp's Last Tape, is being performed at American Stage in St. Petersburg. Steve Garland, shown here, is the title character engaged in a conversation with a tape recording of himself. Director T. Scott Wooten updates Beckett by replacing audiotape with videotape.

"The Beckett estate says, don't change anything in the script, and don't change the stage directions," Wooten said in May when this production debuted at Studio@620 "But never once does Krapp say 'audio' tape. He always says 'tape player.' So we're still doing tape, but it's videotape, not audiotape."

Krapp's Last Tape, produced by Quirky White Chicks Productions and Renegade Theatre Project, has performances at 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and Aug. 4-5; and 7 p.m. Sunday and Monday and Aug. 6. $15, cash only. Bring a ticket stub from Dinner with Friends, the mainstage production at American Stage, and receive a $5 discount. (727) 821-5407.

Beckett was not an existentialist, but many have found parallels between his work and Jean-Paul Sartre's existential classic No Exit, which is being staged by students and alumni of the Pinellas County Center for the Arts. Director David Brinkman has adapted Sartre's script to include six additional characters along with the traditional foursome whose predicament sums up the play's famous maxim: "Hell is other people." No Exit has performances at 7 p.m. today and Friday at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg. $10-$15. (727) 822-3590; www.mypalladium.org.

- JOHN FLEMING, Times performing arts critic