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Waiting for Godot Some Tidbits FYI. Beckett: ◊In Beckett’s work there is always a totally uncompromising determination to always observe the worst about.

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Presentation on theme: "Waiting for Godot Some Tidbits FYI. Beckett: ◊In Beckett’s work there is always a totally uncompromising determination to always observe the worst about."— Presentation transcript:

1 Waiting for Godot Some Tidbits FYI

2 Beckett: ◊In Beckett’s work there is always a totally uncompromising determination to always observe the worst about every man and his nature: ◊Never fall for the cheap consolations ◊Never accept any euphemisms ◊Never have any false hope… ◊In Beckett’s work there is always a totally uncompromising determination to always observe the worst about every man and his nature: ◊Never fall for the cheap consolations ◊Never accept any euphemisms ◊Never have any false hope…

3 Beckett: ◊Such determination to face the truth may find gloomy answers, but it is, in itself, anything but depressing because it shows man as being capable of facing and confronting the truth. ◊This becomes something that is rather noble and inspiring. ◊Such determination to face the truth may find gloomy answers, but it is, in itself, anything but depressing because it shows man as being capable of facing and confronting the truth. ◊This becomes something that is rather noble and inspiring.

4 The Concept: ◊The characters are real people in an absurd situation (which in itself demonstrates the “human condition” or the way we are by nature, and how we react). ◊They are driven by the need “to know” in the midst of a universe which is essentially unknowable (this is both comic and tragic) ◊The characters are real people in an absurd situation (which in itself demonstrates the “human condition” or the way we are by nature, and how we react). ◊They are driven by the need “to know” in the midst of a universe which is essentially unknowable (this is both comic and tragic)

5 The Concept: ◊They keep up their courage, while waiting with various diversions (ex// “Will you not play?”) Is this not something that we also do in our own lives? How? ◊They keep up their courage, while waiting with various diversions (ex// “Will you not play?”) Is this not something that we also do in our own lives? How?

6 The Plot: ◊The plot is not linear the way it is in a traditional narrative. -Introduction -Rising Action -Climax -Falling Action -Conclusion ◊The plot is not linear the way it is in a traditional narrative. -Introduction -Rising Action -Climax -Falling Action -Conclusion

7 The Plot: ◊Instead, the plot is cyclical as the characters evolve through the experience of “waiting”, and revolves from hope to despair, but kept in motion by the reoccurring motif of, “its not certain”

8 Hope (Action) (Utopia) Hope (Action) (Utopia) End of Action (“What do we do now?” End of Action (“What do we do now?” “It’s not certain” Despair (Statis) (Dystopia) Despair (Statis) (Dystopia) “Nothing to be done” “It’s not certain” Waiting for Godot: Plot Cycle

9 The Setting: ◊The setting should be the antithesis of the Garden of Eden: -a desert -A slanted strata -Tortured tree, bent to the wind, clinging to existence -Beyond the void, and in the void -The great, dead world of the moon ◊The setting should be the antithesis of the Garden of Eden: -a desert -A slanted strata -Tortured tree, bent to the wind, clinging to existence -Beyond the void, and in the void -The great, dead world of the moon

10 Beckett’s Beliefs: ◊Beckett believed that habit and routine were the “cancer of time”, and decided to drop everything to travel across Europe. ◊His dramatic works do not rely on the traditional elements of drama. ◊He trades in plot, characterization and a final solution, which had previously been the hallmarks of drama, for a series of concrete stage images. ◊Beckett believed that habit and routine were the “cancer of time”, and decided to drop everything to travel across Europe. ◊His dramatic works do not rely on the traditional elements of drama. ◊He trades in plot, characterization and a final solution, which had previously been the hallmarks of drama, for a series of concrete stage images.

11 Beckett’s Beliefs: ◊Language is useless because he creates a mythical universe, people by lonely creatures who struggle vainly to express the inexpressible. ◊His characters exist in a terrible dream-like vacuum, overcome by an overwhelming sense of bewilderment and grief, grotesquely attempting some form of communication, then crawling on endlessly. ◊Language is useless because he creates a mythical universe, people by lonely creatures who struggle vainly to express the inexpressible. ◊His characters exist in a terrible dream-like vacuum, overcome by an overwhelming sense of bewilderment and grief, grotesquely attempting some form of communication, then crawling on endlessly.

12 Vaudeville: ◊Partially, the play seems to be a self- reflexive study on theatre. ◊During the turn of the century in America, there was a large push in development and industrialization. ◊People would go out to see the large acts of the vaudeville. ◊Partially, the play seems to be a self- reflexive study on theatre. ◊During the turn of the century in America, there was a large push in development and industrialization. ◊People would go out to see the large acts of the vaudeville.

13 Vaudeville: ◊The vaudeville consisted of comedians, singers, plate-spinners, ventriloquists, dancers, musicians, acrobats, animal trainers, and anyone else who could keep the interest of the audience. ◊It is a theatrical genre of variety entertainment in the U.S.A. and Canada from the 1880’s to the 1930’s. ◊It was a bunch of different acts that were all grouped together on one bill. ◊The vaudeville consisted of comedians, singers, plate-spinners, ventriloquists, dancers, musicians, acrobats, animal trainers, and anyone else who could keep the interest of the audience. ◊It is a theatrical genre of variety entertainment in the U.S.A. and Canada from the 1880’s to the 1930’s. ◊It was a bunch of different acts that were all grouped together on one bill.

14 Vaudeville: ◊This was the most popular form of entertainment in America at that time, and was home to more than 25,000 performers. ◊The Vaudeville was an essential part of every community in America. ◊Even beyond the entertainment factor, it was a symbol of the cultural diversity of that century. ◊This was the most popular form of entertainment in America at that time, and was home to more than 25,000 performers. ◊The Vaudeville was an essential part of every community in America. ◊Even beyond the entertainment factor, it was a symbol of the cultural diversity of that century.

15 Vaudeville: ◊It was a fusion of the centuries - old cultural traditions including the English Music Hall (the English considered this their form of vaudeville, except they felt it was more specialty acts and geared towards the upper-class) minstrel shows of antebellum America (considered the “black” shows of pre- war America) and Yiddish theatre (Jewish theatre, often satirical in nature).

16 Vaudeville: ◊Though it certainly was not free of prejustice of the times, vaudeville was the earliest entertainment form to cross racial and class boundaries. ◊This was part of the traveling lifestyle (vagabonds, Godot). ◊The acts were a form of assimilation as they would become active parts of popular culture through representation of their heritage. ◊Though it certainly was not free of prejustice of the times, vaudeville was the earliest entertainment form to cross racial and class boundaries. ◊This was part of the traveling lifestyle (vagabonds, Godot). ◊The acts were a form of assimilation as they would become active parts of popular culture through representation of their heritage.

17 Vaudeville: ◊Other famous vaudevillians include: -Burt Williams -Buster Keaton -Charlie Chaplin (sometimes considered to be related to our play’s namesake… Chaplin’s French nickname was “Chadot”) ◊Other famous vaudevillians include: -Burt Williams -Buster Keaton -Charlie Chaplin (sometimes considered to be related to our play’s namesake… Chaplin’s French nickname was “Chadot”)

18 Vaudeville: ◊What are some of today’s modern depictions?

19 Theatre of the Absurd: ◊Coined by the Hungarian-born critic, Martin Esslin who wrote a book in ◊It essentially defines the state of the human condition as basically “meaningless”. ◊In 1942, French philosopher, Albert Carnus wrote an essay called The Myth of Sisyphus and argued that humanity had to resign itself to recognizing that a fully satisfying, rational explanation of the universe was beyond r each, which means that the world must be ultimately absurd. ◊Coined by the Hungarian-born critic, Martin Esslin who wrote a book in ◊It essentially defines the state of the human condition as basically “meaningless”. ◊In 1942, French philosopher, Albert Carnus wrote an essay called The Myth of Sisyphus and argued that humanity had to resign itself to recognizing that a fully satisfying, rational explanation of the universe was beyond r each, which means that the world must be ultimately absurd.

20 Theatre of the Absurd: ◊Esslin regarded the tern “Theatre of the Absurd” as a device to describe a group f playwrights that could loosely be grouped because of their sense of bewilderment, anxiety, and wonder in the face of an inexplicable universe. ◊Beckett fell under this “loose group” ◊Esslin regarded the tern “Theatre of the Absurd” as a device to describe a group f playwrights that could loosely be grouped because of their sense of bewilderment, anxiety, and wonder in the face of an inexplicable universe. ◊Beckett fell under this “loose group”

21 Theatre of the Absurd: ◊They were not always comfortable with the term and sometimes chose alternative titles, such as “Anti-theatre” or “New Theatre”. ◊Just like what Frye teaches us (although this type of theatre is typically traced back to the 1930’s) its roots actually trace back much further. ◊Absurd elements can be observed as far back as the rise of Greek drama, in the old comedy and buffoonery plays of Aristophanes in particular. ◊They were not always comfortable with the term and sometimes chose alternative titles, such as “Anti-theatre” or “New Theatre”. ◊Just like what Frye teaches us (although this type of theatre is typically traced back to the 1930’s) its roots actually trace back much further. ◊Absurd elements can be observed as far back as the rise of Greek drama, in the old comedy and buffoonery plays of Aristophanes in particular.

22 Theatre of the Absurd: ◊WWII was the catalyst that finally brought Absurdist theatre to life. ◊The global nature of this conflict and the resulting trauma of living under the treat of nuclear annihilation put into stark perspective the precariousness of human life. ◊People no longer needed to be abstract thinkers in order to reflect upon absurdity - it was now part of the average person’s daily existence. ◊WWII was the catalyst that finally brought Absurdist theatre to life. ◊The global nature of this conflict and the resulting trauma of living under the treat of nuclear annihilation put into stark perspective the precariousness of human life. ◊People no longer needed to be abstract thinkers in order to reflect upon absurdity - it was now part of the average person’s daily existence.

23 Theatre of the Absurd: ◊Samuel Beckett is regarded as one of the most famous and one of the most controversial absurdist playwrights because of Waiting for Godot. ◊Traditional theatre attempts to create a photographic representation of life as we see it. ◊Absurdist theatre attempts to create a ritual- like, mythological, archetypal, allegorical version, closely related to the world of dreams. ◊Samuel Beckett is regarded as one of the most famous and one of the most controversial absurdist playwrights because of Waiting for Godot. ◊Traditional theatre attempts to create a photographic representation of life as we see it. ◊Absurdist theatre attempts to create a ritual- like, mythological, archetypal, allegorical version, closely related to the world of dreams.

24 Theatre of the Absurd: ◊The focal point of these dreams is often man’s fundamental bewilderment and confusion stemming from the fact that he/she has no answers to basic existential questions: -why are we alive? -why do we have to die? -Why is there injustice and suffering? ◊In a way, this type of theatre can be seen as a way to reestablish human’s communion with the Universe. ◊Dr. Jan Culik writes: ◊The focal point of these dreams is often man’s fundamental bewilderment and confusion stemming from the fact that he/she has no answers to basic existential questions: -why are we alive? -why do we have to die? -Why is there injustice and suffering? ◊In a way, this type of theatre can be seen as a way to reestablish human’s communion with the Universe. ◊Dr. Jan Culik writes:

25 Theatre of the Absurd: “Absurd Theatre can be seen as an attempt to restore the importance of myth and ritual into our age, by making man aware of the ultimate realities of human condition, by re- instilling in him again the lost sense of cosmic wonder and primeval anguish. The absurd theatre hopes to achieve this by shocking man out of an existence that has become trite, mechanical and complacent. It is felt by the theatre that there is a mystical experience in confronting the limits of the human condition.”

26 Theatre of the Absurd: ◊One of the most important aspects of the absurd drama is the distrust of language as a vehicle of communication. It seems to say that language has become a means for conventionalized, stereotyped, meaningless exchanges. Dr. Culik explains:

27 “Words failed to express the essence of human experience, not being able to penetrate beyond its surface. The Theatre of the Absurd constituted first and foremost an onslaught on language, showing it has a very unreliable and insufficient tool of communication. Absurd drama uses conventionalized speech, cliché’s, slogans, and technical jargon, which it distorts, parodies, and breaks down. By ridiculing conventionalized and stereotyped speech patterns, The Theatre of the Absurd tries to make people aware of the possibility of going beyond the every day speech conventions and communicating more authentically.”

28 Theatre of the Absurd: ◊Absurd drama subverts logic. ◊It relishes the unexpected and the logically impossible. ◊According to Sigmund Freud, there is a feeling of freedom we can enjoy when we are able to abandon the straightjacket of logic. As Dr. Culik points out, “Rationalist thought, like language, only deals with the superficial aspects of things. Nonsense, on the other hand, opens up a glimpse of the infinite.” ◊Absurd drama subverts logic. ◊It relishes the unexpected and the logically impossible. ◊According to Sigmund Freud, there is a feeling of freedom we can enjoy when we are able to abandon the straightjacket of logic. As Dr. Culik points out, “Rationalist thought, like language, only deals with the superficial aspects of things. Nonsense, on the other hand, opens up a glimpse of the infinite.”


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