Krapp 39


He raises his head, broods, bends over machine, switches on and assumes listening posture, i.e. leaning foreward, 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 comfortable he knocks one of the boxes off the table, curses, switches off, sweeps boxes and ledger violently to the ground, winds tape back to the beginning, switches on, resumes posture.] Thirty-nine today, sound as a bell, apart from my old weakness, and intellectually I have now every reason to suspect at the . . . [hesitates] . . . crest of the wave– or thereabouts. Celebrated the awful occasion, as in recent years, quietly at the winehouse. Not a soul. Sat before the fire with closed eyes, separation the grain from the husks. jotted down a few notes, on the back on an envelope. Good to be back in my den in my old rags. Have just eaten I regret to say three bananas and only with difficulty restrained a fourth. Fatal things for a man with my condition. [Vehemently.] Cut ’em out! [pause.] The new light above my table is a great improvement. With all this darkness around 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 I wonder 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.

[Pause. Krapp closes his eyes briefly.]

Extraordinary silence this evening, I strain my ears and do not hear a sound. Old Miss McGlome 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. Connaught, 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.