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Samuel Beckett (1906—1989) author

 

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A: Samuel Beckett Pf: 1963, Ulm, Germany; 1964, London Pb: 1964 G: Drama in 1 act (repeated) S: Three urns in the afterlife C: 1m, 2fThe heads of W1 (Woman 1), W2 (Woman 2), and M (Man) are seen protruding from three identical grey urns. Each speaks only when a spotlight is on him or her. In rapid toneless voices, they relive an unhappy love triangle. W1 is married to M, who is having an affair with W2, a well-to-do woman in Kent. Although she has no proof, W1 is convinced of M's infidelity and insists that he give up his mistress. W1 visits W2, demanding that she leave her husband alone. M confesses to W1, and they are reconciled. W1 goes to have a gloat over her rival, and W2 is furious at M for betraying their secret. M leaves W1, and W1, stricken, goes to W2's house to find it ‘bolted and barred’. It would seem that W1 is killed in a car crash on her way home. Meanwhile, M has stopped coming to W2, and she burns all his things and leaves home. Now in death, the three speculate on the situation of the others, and M says: ‘I know now, all that was just…play.’ The whole piece is then repeated almost identically.

A: Samuel Beckett Pf: 1963, Ulm, Germany; 1964, London Pb: 1964 G: Drama in 1 act (repeated) S: Three urns in the afterlife C: 1m, 2f

In Play Beckett pushed his abstract theatre further than it had gone before. Based partly on his own difficult relationships with Peggy Guggenheim and his wife Suzanne, Beckett envisages the torment of hell as being caught in an endless cycle of repetition of a sordid sexual game, from which M hoped to have escaped but which, prompted by the unrelenting interrogation of the spotlight, he will have to relive to eternity.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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