Tuesday, April 02, 2013

A to Z Challenge: B is for Beckett

Perhaps the best known playwright whose name starts with a "b" is Samuel Barclay Beckett, who was born in Ireland in 1906 and died in 1989. He was a novelist, playwright, theatre director, and poet, who lived in Paris for most of his adult life. His stories about human nature were often bleak with black comedy and gallows humor.

Picture Courtesy of Wikipedia
Literary scholars have written that Beckett was influenced by the work of James Joyce, and with Joyce, Beckett is considered one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. I found it interesting to note that Beckett's work in his later years was minimalistic, like Thornton Wilder. Without a lavish set and many props, it falls upon the writer and the actors to make the characters come alive and move the story along, which is quite a challenge on both sides of the script.

Beckett wrote in French and English and produced four major full-length stage plays: En attendant Godot (written 1948–1949; Waiting for Godot), Fin de partie (1955–1957; Endgame), Krapp's Last Tape (1958), and Happy Days (1961). These plays deal with the subject of despair and the will to survive in spite of that despair. The characters seem to be living in the face of an uncomprehending and incomprehensible world.

Beckett was awarded the 1969 Nobel Prize in Literature for his entire body of work, which is impressive, as I discovered when I found a list of Beckett's plays, novels and other works on Wikipedia. I was surprised to see that in addition to his plays and novels, he wrote for radio and television.

I will admit that I have not seen any of his plays, and I have only read one of his novellas, The Lost Ones. What about you? Have you read his work or seen one of his plays?

9 comments:

Harvest Moon by Hand said...

I remember seeing a play in London by Beckett when I was in college. Very well done. Thanks for such an informative post!

Maryann Miller said...

I'm glad you got to experience one of his plays in live theatre. I must add that to my bucket list.

Dani said...

I was in Endgame in high school - it turned into a complete comedy, which of course... it wasn't. LOL. A-Zing my way through the day! I'll add you to my blog links, Maryann.

Maryann Miller said...

Thanks for adding me to your links, Dani. What role did you play in Endgame?

VikLit said...

I have seen a Beckett on stage here, really enjoyed it. He is an awesome pick!

Maryann Miller said...

I'm jealous, VikLit.

mental mosaic said...

I've not seen any of his plays nor read any of his books, though I've heard references to Waiting for Godot my whole life!

Guess I'd better add that to my "Beckett" list. ;p

Happy A to Z to you. :)

~Tui

Crystal Collier said...

Hm. Nope. I don't think so. Maybe I need to go scour that list. I tend to avoid works that prompt me to cry--since my tear ducts are way too close to the surface. Of course, if he has any comedies I might have to check them out.

Maryann Miller said...

Crystal, Beckett did write some dark comedies, so there is a laugh now and then.

LOL, Mental Mosaic, I love your comment.