The Guthrie Theater presents an Irish Repertory Theatre production produced by Octopus Theatricals

On Beckett

conceived and performed by BILL IRWIN

A one-man tribute to a literary legend

Tony Award-winning actor and master clown Bill Irwin has spent a lifetime captivated by Samuel Beckett. The depth of his devotion for the famed Irish writer plays out onstage in a nonstop display of jovial verbal and physical comedy that has become Irwin’s signature. With little more than a microphone and a podium, Irwin lets the audience in on the creative process of engaging with Beckett’s undeniably rich language, providing a primer in clowning along the way. In addition to exploring texts by one of the most influential theater voices of the past century, audiences will fall in love with Irwin’s unique and endearing approach to Beckett’s work.

What critics are saying 

  • “A delicious piece of theater … a playful, intimate experiment conducted by a master practitioner” – Sara Holdren, New York Magazine 

  • “A better guide to playing Beckett would be hard to find. And when it comes to the clowning elements, a masterclass is in session.” – Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times 

  • “An homage to [Beckett] that is both deeply personal and defiantly, even exuberantly, accessible” – Elysa Gardner, New York Stage Review 

Ticket prices

Ticket prices range from $29 to $82.

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Group sales

All student and adult groups of 15 or more qualify for discounts on tickets to Guthrie productions.

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Venue info

This production will take place on the McGuire Proscenium Stage.

Pro tip: Can't do stairs or have a special seating request? Call the Box Office for details.

Run time

Approximately 1 hour, 30 minutes (no intermission).

Age recommendation

We recommend this production for ages 12 and up.


ASL-interpreted, audio-described and open-captioned performances are available on select dates.

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Digital program

Want to dig deeper into the story? Download the digital program or education resources

In the news

Easy, accessible and fun

Bill Irwin could talk about Beckett for hours, but in his show On Beckett he limits himself to about 80 minutes. He talked with Joe Westerfield of Newsweek about his special obsession. 

Read On




Witness the creative process of award-winning actor and master clown Bill Irwin as he unpacks the rich language of Irish author Samuel Beckett in On Beckett.



Placeholder for Charlie Corcoran

Charlie Corcoran

Scenic Designer

Placeholder for Michael Gottlieb

Michael Gottlieb

Lighting Designer

Placeholder for M. Florian Staab

M. Florian Staab

Sound Designer

Placeholder for Lisa McGinn

Lisa McGinn

Stage Manager

Bill Irwin

Creator/ Performer

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Creative Team

Charlie Corcoran                         Scenic Designer

Martha Hally                                Costume Consultant

Michael Gottlieb                         Lighting Designer

M. Florian Staab                          Sound Designer

Luner Eclipse Productions        Tour Production Manager

Lisa McGinn                                  Stage Manager

Avery Reagan                               Tour Lighting Supervisor

Alex Brock                                     Tour Audio Supervisor


Octopus Theatricals

Mara Isaacs                                   Executive/Creative Producer

Bryan Hunt                                   Associate Producer/Production Coordinator

Taneisha Duggan                        Associate Producer

Adam Hyndman                          Associate Producer

Michael Francis                           Business Manager

Kendra Holloway                        Executive Assistant

Kelly Letourneau                         Producing Associate

Special thanks

Made possible with support from the David & Leni Moore Distinguished Artist Fund

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