About Beckett. The Playwright and the Work by John Fletcher

By John Fletcher

In About Beckett Emeritus Professor John Fletcher has compiled a radical and available quantity that explains why Beckett's paintings is so major and enduring. Professor Fletcher first met Beckett in 1961 and his booklet is stuffed not just with insights into the paintings but additionally interviews with Beckett and first-hand tales and observations by means of those that helped to place his paintings at the degree, together with Dame Peggy Ashcroft, Roger Blin, Peter corridor, Max Wall and George Devine. As an advent to Beckett and his paintings, Professor Fletcher's ebook is incomparable.

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As a Marxist, Brecht was the exact opposite of mystics like Artaud and visionaries like Genet: his rejection of realistic illusion had a didactic and political purpose, but his innovations have opened the way to much else that is vital in contemporary theatre, not least the works of Samuel Beckett, which self-consciously play ‘across’ the footlights. In Waiting for Godot the emptiness of the auditorium is humorously commented upon by the actor/characters; in Endgame, Hamm – like the ‘ham’ actor (meaning an actor of indifferent talent) that he is – plays to the gallery, and when Clov asks what it is that keeps them there, replies, truthfully enough, ‘The dialogue’ (CDW, p.

Years later, when he attended his friend’s funeral, he ‘sobbed bitterly’ (DF, p. 696). An even more remarkable example of loyalty was his attitude to someone I mentioned earlier, Georges Pelorson. A graduate of the École Normale Supérieure, Pelorson (b. 1909) was three years younger than Beckett. Their paths first crossed during Beckett’s time in Paris; they met up again when the Frenchman arrived at Trinity College as the École’s appointee to the exchange-lector post during Beckett’s period as a lecturer there, and they became close friends.

Lionel Abel has defined metatheatre as resting upon two basic postulates: (1) that the world is a stage, and (2) that life is a dream. Neither of these two notions originated at all recently. ‘Life is a dream’ is the literal translation of the title of a play by the Spanish dramatist Calderón (1600–81), and ‘the world’s a stage’ (or, in Latin, theatrum mundi) was a popular phrase long before Shakespeare took it up in As You Like It: All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts … (Act II, scene vii) As Elizabeth Burns comments in her book Theatricality (1972), ‘The theatrum mundi metaphor was derived from the idea that God was the sole spectator of man’s actions on the stage of life’ (p.

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About Beckett. The Playwright and the Work by John Fletcher
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