Lisa Dwan – And So It Continues

Taking the baton from the magisterial Billie Whitelaw, Irish actor Lisa Dwan has become the foremost Beckett performer and a huge influence on us here at The Vampire’s Wife. What is it about her that commands such deep respect; her dedication to the process and to the form, her sense of duty to continue the lineage laid down by Billie Whitelaw, her willingness to go to places beyond what is normally required of an actor, her rawness, her naturalness, her fragile beauty? Artists, like Lisa Dwan, who by being in the world, just make us all a bit braver. We are indebted to her.

My husband has just informed me that, Lisa Dwan plays the Bad Seeds song Rings Of Saturn before she performs her super-gruelling one-woman shows. He says he is glad that song found some practical use.

RINGS OF SATURN

Upside down and inside out and on all eights
Like a funnel-web
Like a black fly on the ceiling
Skinny white haunches high and skyward
And her black oily gash crawling across the carpet to smash all over everything
Wet black fur against the sun going down
Over the shops and the cars and the crowds and the town

And this is the moment, this is exactly what you were born to be
Now this is what she does and this is what she is
And this is the moment, this is exactly where she is born to be
This is what she does and this is what she is

Her eyes that look at me through a rainy hair
Two round holes where the air buckles and rushes in
Her body moon-blue as a jellyfish
And I’m breathing deep and I’m there
and I’m also not there
And spurting ink across the sheets but she remains, completely unexplained
Or maybe I’m just too tongue-tied to drink it up and swallow back the pain
I thought slavery had been abolished
How come it’s gone and reared its ugly head again?

And this is the moment, this is exactly what she is born to be
And this is what she does and this is what she is
And this is the moment, this is exactly what she is born to be
This is what she is and this is what she does
And this is the moment, this is exactly what she is born to be
And this is what she does and this is what she is
And this is the moment, this is exactly what she is born to be
Then this is what she does and this is what she is

And now she’s jumping up with her leaping brain
Stepping over heaps of sleeping children
Disappearing and further up and spinning out again
Up and further up she goes, up and out of the bed
Up and out of the bed and down the hall where she stops for moment and turns and says
“Are you still here?”
And then reaches high and dangles herself like a child’s dream from the rings of Saturn

Nick Cave

Lisa Dwan