Tag Archive: samuel beckett


A POST-MODERN GOLDONI FLOP

Carlo Goldoni’s Il Servitore di due padroni (The servant of two masters) rewritten by Ken Ponzio (Teatro Bonci, Cesena)

Spot the difference! The classic Harlequin and Roberto Latini as the post-modern version.

Spot the difference! The classic Harlequin and Roberto Latini in the post-modern version.

Prepositions have never been my strong point. The consequence of this is that I failed to appreciate the significance of the fact that this Venetian theatre company’s production was ‘da’ and not ‘di’ Carlo Goldoni. The first means ‘from’ the second means ‘by’.

The distinction is crucial because the only connection Ken Ponzio’s version had to the original play from 1743 is in the character names and token references to the plot.

In the programme notes Ponzio seeks to justify his presumptions act of literary terrorism: “Our way of perceiving comedies and tragedies has changed. Today’s expressive methods are radically different from those of Goldoni since we have experienced two world wars, been to the moon and we’ve read Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter and Heiner Müller; our way of seeing has fundamentally changed”.

When the curtain  rose my heart sank. The set was a characterless hotel hall with three doors on each side. A pot plant, some chairs, a telephone and a TV (tuned to American shows) are the only props. Continue reading

THE DRAMA OF BEING A CHILD by Alice Miller (Virago, 1987)

Alice Miller (1923 - 2010)

Alice Miller (1923 – 2010)

‘It’s never too late to have a happy childhood’ is a quote attributed to the American author Tom Robbins, although I have a feeling that someone else said it before him.

The sentiment behind these words should be immediately obvious – age is just a state of mind (I wish!) and being too eager to put away childish things doesn’t necessarily make you a more grounded adult.

I don’t think it is supposed to endorse the behaviour of those who never properly grow up or to celebrate immaturity.

We can try to keep a childlike sense of wonder towards the world around us and stay as open as possible to new experiences but ,the older you get, the harder it is to preserve this level of purity.

As a compensation, it can be rewarding to try to see things through the eyes of your own kids or of other children you encounter.

An aphorism for Alice Miller’s book would be decidedly less snappy and more cynical. It would have to be something like: “It’s never to late to realise that the childhood you always thought was happy wasn’t so marvellous after all”. Continue reading

“It will be I, it will be the silence, where I am, I don’t know, I’ll never know, in the silence you don’t know, you must go on, I can’t go on, I’ll go on”. – Samuel Beckett, The Unnameable (Photo by Brett Wilde).

Another day, another blog post. With the views limping towards three figures each day,

I am resigned to the fact that I will never go viral unless I unwittingly stumble upon some almighty scoop.

This doesn’t worry me especially since I started this as a personal project to write about whatever took my fancy with no desire to make any personal confessions.

What was once a vice is now a habit.

It has become the principle of the thing to post something every day.

This dogged perseverance (stubbornness) has meant that I have not missed a day since 1st January 2011.

Sometimes, though, I feel like the unnamed narrator of Beckett’s 1953  novel (“I’ll go on”) and I also gain a perverse strength from the same writer who, in his novella Worstward Ho!,  wrote: “All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better”.

There’s a bleakness in these words, but a spirit of resilience too; and a truth.

WAITING FOR THE KING

A HOLOGRAM FOR THE KING by Dave Eggers (First published by McSweeney’s, 2012)

Dave Eggers is a person and a writer I admire a lot but I have to say that this is a strange, disjointed and largely disappointing novel.

Set in the present day, it follows the (mis)fortunes of an ageing salesman, Alan Gray, who is in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia heading up a small team of IT consultants. He, and his three younger assistants, work for Reliant “the largest IT supplier in the world”.

They are there to demonstrate, and hopefully sell, some state of the art “telepresence technology” – a virtual hologram mirage that gives the illusion that someone is physically present at a meeting when they are actually elsewhere.

The prestige client is the King of the King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) a place described as “a city-to-be in a desert by the sea”.

The location is exotic and Alan is intrigued to be in some small way part of the ambitious plan to build a city in the desert – “he wanted to believe that a city rising from dust could happen”.

But waiting for the King proves to be like waiting for Godot, which presumably explains why Eggers’ chose a quote from Samuel Beckett as the novel’s epigraph – “It’s not every day that we are needed”. Continue reading

THE ADDICTION directed by Abel Ferrara (USA, 1995)

I wanted to see this movie since, according to the Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw, it is the best film ever made.

I like Bradshaw’s reviews and more often than not agree with his opinions. I especially like the fact that he doesn’t take an elitist position; he is as likely praise the merits of Toy Story as the works of Tarkovsky.

The Addiction is a vampire movie like no other. Actually it is better to see it as an intense existential drama with theological overtones rather than as a straight horror film.

Continue reading

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