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«Quad I + II»
‘Quad', the first in a series of minimalist experimental television plays made by Beckett in the 1980s for the broadcaster Süddeutscher Rundfunk, operates with a serial game involving the motional pattern of four actors, but equally accommodating four soloists, six duos, and four trios. Four actors, whose coloured hoods make them identifiable yet anonymous, accomplish a relentless closed-circuit drama. Once inside the square, they are condemned to monotonously and synchronously pace the respectively six steps of the lengthwise and diagonal lines it contains, in part accompanied by varying drumbeat rhythms. The mathematical precision and choreography is made possible by the exactness of the timing. Choreographic variation is confined to the number of performers, and the resultant changes in colour constellations. The middle of the square, which is marked by a dot, must always be bypassed on the left-hand side. In the course of the production, the feet leave behind faint traces on the diagonals of the white square. ‘Quad' (here you see the first version) is, for all its reducedness, the most dramatic of Beckett's last teleplays. The playwright also shot a black-and-white version with four figures dressed identically in white and acting to the beat of a metronome.