12.10.11

George Hunka on Samuel Beckett and Politics

On political concerns in Beckett's later plays
Samuel Beckett directing a production of Warten auf Godot in Germany
In a recent post at Superfluities Redux, George Hunka shares his personal impressions on Samuel Beckett's theatre: 'Towards the end of his playwriting career, with his final two plays Catastrophe and What Where, Beckett turned to more explicitly political concerns which echoed his own public activities in the fight against apartheid in South Africa and the suppression of individual thought and expression in the countries of the Eastern Bloc. The director of the first play and the torturer of the second suggest the superego of personal certainty which seeks to shape a world; this certainty always leads to the manipulation and destruction of the Other. In this, Beckett explores the dangers of political power, imperial colonialism, and cultural adventurism writ large; in Catastrophe, Beckett’s setting of the play in a theatre (and Catastrophe is one of the few late plays that take place in a specific locale) implicates the author in arranging and manipulating the mute individual at the mercy of the director, his assistant, and the lighting designer.' [Read More]

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