Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sad Nights

Samuel Beckett's Happy Days, a two-act play about a woman who goes about her life even though she's mostly buried in the ground, is getting a revival at Pasadena's Boston Court Performing Arts Center.  The show is a tour de force for any actress, and also a sign of how Beckett tried to do more and more with less and less.

His plays are open to interpretation, of course, but he never approved of any significant changes in his pieces, even going so far as noting his disapproval in some playbills. (His later works have even less freedom for the actors, with extensive stage directions.) But that doesn't stop directors from trying to force their vision on Beckett.

A central theme to much of his stage work is deterioration.  Things are bad and getting worse, and often the best we can manage is to get used to it. A powerful theme.  But the short description of the production has me worried.  Here's the first sentence:

Renowned director Andrei Belgrader re-examines this Samuel Beckett classic, newly relevant to a generation burdened by climate change and environmental doom.

Oh boy.  The idea that there's something special about this generation when it comes to gloom and doom shows a lack of perspective that makes me question the whole production. The theme of Beckett's work is relevant today, yes, but that's because it was relevant when he wrote it and will almost certainly be relevant in the future.  To claim it's newly relevant, or specially relevant now, only cheapens the work.

The play stars Brooke Adams.  My advice--stick to the lines, you won't go wrong.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Days? Does Richie Cunningham make an appearance?

9:25 AM, January 28, 2014  

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