Compagnie Maguy Marin presents May B at Sadler’s Wells

Compagnie Maguy Marin presents May B at Sadler’s Wells

Compagnie Maguy Marin presents May B by acclaimed French choreographer Maguy Marin, inspired by the works of Samuel Beckett, at Sadler’s Wells on Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 22 May.

May B was created in 1981 and is based on the writings of celebrated Irish playwright Samuel Beckett, who unexpectedly offered his blessing to the then largely unknown choreographer to adapt his work.

Marin’s arresting and powerfully theatrical production echoes the relentlessness of Beckettian characters. The 10 performers appear barely human – an ensemble of lost souls, their faces plastered in clay. Moving together and alone, their gestures are distilled to repetitive shuffles and their words garbled and replaced with rhythmic sighs and grunts. This haunting work features one single line from Beckett’s play Endgame: “Finished, it’s finished, nearly finished, it must be nearly finished” which Marin uses to give a pulse to her choreography.

May B is set to the romantic music of Franz Schubert and Gavin Bryars’ contemporary musical genius. The sparse choreography in Marin’s intuitively potent and timeless work is mesmerising – the dancers journeying in stoic defiance of uncertainty towards a destination that will, quite possibly, always elude them.

Maguy Marin said: “When Beckett’s characters yearn for stillness, they cannot help moving; be it a little or a lot, they move. In this essentially theatrical work, the point, for us, was less to develop words and speech than a blown-up form of movement, thus seeking the meeting point between movement applied to theatre on the one hand, and dance and choreographic language on the other.”

Sadler’s Wells Artistic Director and Co-Chief Executive Sir Alistair Spalding CBE said: “We’re delighted to introduce Sadler’s Wells audiences to the extraordinary work of French choreographer Maguy Marin. Created over 40 years ago, this is a rare opportunity to catch Maguy’s masterpiece. Based on the writings of Samuel Beckett, it’s an exploration of tenderness and humanity that emerges from a bleak and unsettling setting. It’s a remarkable piece of dance theatre, full of recognisable Beckettian characters and choreographic parades, that delves into the depths of our existence.”

Tickets to May B are available now at

May B © Hervé Deroo