Saturday, January 3, 2009

Aimless Reading: The B's, Part 7.1


Waiting for Godot
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
Beckett, Samuel
Waiting for Godot
A Tragicomedy in Two Acts

When I was a boy, my father often took me to see plays at the Arena Stage in Washington.  He had grown up in Brooklyn and had his first jobs in Manhattan during the 50's, the heyday of American drama.  His big love was Eugene O'Neill.  The first play I ever saw was Ah, Wilderness! and the second was, I think, A Long Days Journey Into Night.  I think the last play we saw together was a version of Wilde's Salome, starring Al Pacino as Herod and, I think, Sheryl Lee (or Lara Flynn Boyle -- one of the women from Twin Peaks, for certain) as Salome. 

Since he died, I have pretty much stopped going to plays, unless I have friends involved in the writing or production of them.  Something about live theater always seems over the top to me now-- usually the acting.  There's so much yelling and spitting and foot-stomping.  And then there is the problem of great plays like Waiting for Godot, which are as much, if not more, of a pleasure to read than to see performed.  I have seen it done several times on stage and am always disappointed b/c the actors are fixated on teasing out the emotions of the characters instead of reveling in the rich texture of the language.  They have a difficult task, regardless. 

How are you supposed to act this out?

LUCKY: Given the existence as uttered forth in the public works of Puncher and Wattmann of a personal God quaquaquaqua with white beard quaquaquaqua outside time without extension who from the heights of divine aphasia loves us dearly with some exceptions for reasons unknown but time will tell and suffers like the divine Miranda with those who for reasons unknown but time will tell are plunged in torment plunged in fire whose fire flames if that continues and who can doubt it will fire the firmament that is to say blast hell to heaven so blue still and calm so calm with a calm which even though intermittent is better than nothing but not so fast and considering what is more that as a result of the labors left unfinished crowned by the Acacacacademy of Anthropopopometry of Essy-in-Possy of Testew and Cunard it is established beyond all other doubt than that which clings to the labors of men that as a result of the labors unfinished of Testew and Cunard it is established as hereinafter but not so fast for reasons unknown that as a result of the public works of Puncher and Wattmann it is established beyond all doubt that in view of the labors of Fartov and Belcher left unfinished for reasons unknown of Testew and Cunard left unfinished it is established what many deny that man in Possy of Testew and Cunard that man in Essy that man in short that man in brief in spite of the strides of alimentation and defecation wastes and pines wastes and pines and concurrently simultaneously what is more for reasons unknown in spite of the strides of physical culture the practice of sports such as tennis football running cycling swimming flying floating riding gliding conating camogie skating tennis of all kinds dying flying sports of all sorts autumn summer winter winter tennis of all kinds kockey of all sorts penicilline and succedanea in a word I resume flying gliding golf over nine and eighteen holes tennis of all sorts in a word for reasons unknown in Feckham Peckham Fulham Clapham namely concurrently simultaneously what is more for reasons unknown but time will tell fades away I resume Fulham Clapham in a word the dead loss per head since the death of Bishop Berkeley being to the tune of one inch four ounce per head approximately by and large more or less to the nearest decimal good measure round figures stark naked in the stockinged feet in Connemara in a word for reasons unknown no matter what matter the facts are there and considering what is more much more grave that in the light of the labors lost of Steinweg and Peterman it appears what is more much more grave that in the light the light the light of the labors lost of Steinweg and Peterman that in the plains in the mountains by the seas by the rivers running water running fire the air is the same and then the earth namely the air and then the earth in the great cold the great dark the air and the earth abode of stones in the great cold alas alas in the year of their Lord six hundred and something the air the earth the sea the earth abode of stones in the great deeps the great cold on sea on land and in the air I resume for reasons unknown in spite of the tennis the facts are there but time will tell I resume alas alas on on in short in fine on on abode of stones who can doubt it I resume but no to fast I resume the skull fading fading fading and concurrently simultaneously what is more for reasons unknown in spite of the tennis on on the beard the flames the tears the stones so blue so calm alas alas on on the skull the skull the skull the skull in Connemara in spite of the tennis the labors abandoned left unfinished graver still abode of stones in a word I resume alas alas abandoned unfinished the skull the skull in Connemara in spite of the tennis the skull alas the stones Cunard tennis . . . the stones . . . so calm . . . Cunard . . . unfinished.

I found this copy of the book in a closet full of old books at La Salle Academy in the East Village, where I taught for a couple of years after college.  There weren't enough to make a class set, so I just took one for myself and taught something else. I guess that also counts as stealing.  There seems to be a pattern developing here.  

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