Beckett Slides

April 13 was the 100th anniversary of Samuel Beckett’s birthday. (He died in 1989.) Surely, he was one of the titans of twentieth century art.

His influence extended beyond his own media of novels, theatre and poetry. Film, visual art, and dance also absorbed Beckett’s take on art and life.

What was so special? His sparseness of approach and his clarity about the human condition - our determination for significance, our fear of death, our finding humor in tragedy and melancholy in comedy, and our courage - or at least willingness - to keep going, to keep playing.

Beckett gave two plays to the Parisian actor and director, Roger Blin, to choose for a production in 1953. One was Eleutheria, a play with seventeen characters, a lot of props and needing complicated lighting. The other play was Waiting for Godot. Blin later said his choice was easy:

I thought I’d be better off with the Godot because there were only four actors and they were bums. They could wear their own clothes if it came to that, and I wouldn’t need anything but a spotlight and a bare branch for a tree.

Simple practicality was a pure Beckett characteristic worthy of a pure Beckett smile.

As you have noticed from the site, when festivals send us their photographs we put them into a slideshow on the festival’s page. (If you haven’t seen this, click here for an example.)

So, in the same vein, here is a beautiful slideshow from Slate, the online magazine, in honor of Beckett’s birthday. Photos include great shots of Beckett; of a rehearsal for the first American production of Godot with the director Allan Schneider (to the side wearing a hat); of a production of Godot from Prague; and of Jean-Louis Barrault in Godot.

How did you celebrate Beckett’s birthday?

- Bill Reichblum

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One Response to “Beckett Slides”

  1. KadmusArts - where culture speaks » Blog Archive » New Orleans Waits for Godot
    November 5th, 2007 05:52

    [...] The work of Samuel Beckett might not be the most obvious choice to bring a community together. However, when you maintain the integrity of Beckett’s specific choices, and place the play in a context that reaches beyond the stage to become an event of resonance and insight, a community, such as NOLA’s, responds. [...]

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