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Samuel Beckett and Theatre of the Absurd

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Rebecca Woolgar

on 5 May 2013

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Transcript of Samuel Beckett and Theatre of the Absurd

Let's take a closer look, shall we? The Theatre of the Absurd. The Life of Samuel Beckett This is Samuel Beckett, the most famous and well-known absurdist playwright. 1906 1923-1927 1939-1945 1945 1953 1969 1989 "What do I know about man's destiny? I could tell you more about radishes." -Samuel Beckett Waiting for Godot (1953) Let's get you on your feet! What is Theatre of the Absurd.....? A form of drama that emphasizes the absurdity of human existence. This theatre style employs:
- disjointed, repetitious and meaningless dialogue
- purposeless and confusing situations
- plots that lack realistic or logical development
- broad comedy (tragicomedy, gallows humor, and black comedy) They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it's night once more. - Samuel Beckett Food for thought... "Let's go." "We can't." "Why not?" "We're waiting for Godot."
- Samuel Beckett Waiting for Godot The name was given to a group of playwrights in the 1950s by the critic and scholar, Martin Esslin. This style of theatre can be loosely linked with the philosophy of existentialism. The term "absurd" first appeared in an essay by French philosopher, Albert Camus. But who are these "absurdist" playwrights? Samuel Barclay Beckett was born on April 13, 1906 in Foxrock, Dublin, Ireland to a quantity surveyor and his wife.

He had one older brother, Frank Edward Beckett, born in 1902. Beckett then studied French, Italian and English at Trinity College in Dublin, receiving his BA in 1927.

In 1928, he took up the post lecteur d'anglais at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris. During his stay, he was introduced to James Joyce. Beckett joined the French Resistance after the German occupation in 1940.

On several occasions he was almost caught by the Gestapo.

He was awarded Croix de guerre and the Medaille de la Resistance. In 1945, during a visit to Ireland, Beckett had a revelation. While sitting in his mother's room, his entire future direction in literature appeared to him.

And thus begun the odd, inspiring and innovative career of Samuel Beckett. On January 5th 1953, Becketts most well known work, Waiting for Godot premiered in Theatre de Babylone in Paris. -First play that Samuel Beckett ever wrote.
Within the play, there are two main characters:
Vladimir and Estragon. They wait endlessly and in vain for the arrival of someone named Godot, but he never appears.
-The play exemplifies the foolishness man goes through expecting something that won't ever actually happen.
-The identity of Godot is of much debate. It is certain that it isn't a symbol of God. Critic Vivian Mercier wrote that Beckett "has achieved a theoretical impossibility—a play in which nothing happens, that yet keeps audiences glued to their seats. What's more, since the second act is a subtly different reprise of the first, he has written a play in which nothing happens, twice." Samuel Beckett was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in literature for, in the words of the Academy's citation, "his writing, which --- in new forms for the novel and drama -- in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation." Samuel Beckett died of respiratory problems in a Paris hospital on December 22, 1989 at the age of 83.

He his buried alongside his wife, Suzanne in the Cimetiere du Montparnasse in Paris. AND LET'S GET ABSURD! Here is a fun, insightful and "absurd" theatre exercise.
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