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From left, actor Adam Henderson, director Duncan Fraser, actress Lee Van Paassen and actor William Samples are staging Samuel Beckett’s All That Fall.

For more than a half century, the answer was an unwavering, resounding "no."

In 1956, Samuel Beckett wrote a radio play called All That Fall that was first performed on the BBC in 1957. And in the decades that followed, myriad high-profile producers – including Ingmar Bergman and Laurence Olivier – asked the playwright if they could transform the work into a stage play. He categorically refused.

Then a few years ago, the National Theatre of England persuaded Mr. Beckett's estate to allow a stage play, but that permission came with one strict condition: it had to be done like a radio play, with no added props, music or staging. Just actors performing what Mr. Beckett described as "voices coming out of the dark."

All That Fall opened in London and New York to rave reviews; and now Vancouver's esteemed Blackbird Theatre – known for its stellar productions of classic works – has become the only Canadian company to get the green light.

The play touches on several of Mr. Beckett's favourite themes, among them the harshness of life and the futility of religion, but director Duncan Fraser says the piece is distinct among many of the playwright's most famous works.

"It's not as deeply philosophical and morbid as his plays can be. It's Beckett being quite lighthearted and comical, and it also reveals a side of him that we didn't know about, and that's his youth," says Mr. Fraser, who explains that many of the character names reference Mr. Beckett's childhood in Foxrock, Ireland. "But what's most interesting is that it's not abstract like many of his plays. It's real – and it's a bit of a whodunit."

In the play, Mrs. Rooney leaves her home to pick up her blind husband from the train station, and along the way encounters a host of characters using various modes of transport. When she eventually reaches the station, she finds the train is delayed by some kind of accident – but later finds it may not have been an accident at all.

In addition to performing the roles, the actors also produce many of the sound effects, from animal noises to weather sounds.

"It's quite entertaining for the audience, because the vast majority won't have any idea how busy it can be to make all this stuff come across as natural, nor will they have much idea about what apparatus we need to go about it," says Mr. Fraser, who has a long history in radio drama. "So it will be really interesting from that point of view, too, and I think they'll get quite gleeful about it."

All That Fall is at The Cultch until Jan. 24 (