1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46

evocative, we found little of it to be useful in a practical sense.

Another source of both inspiration and information for me was Prof.

Yasunari Takahashi of Tokyo University. Prof. Takahashi is a leading translator of

Shakespeare and the only recognized translator of Beckett into Japanese. He carried

on a correspondence with Samuel Beckett for many years. I was fortunate enough

to have a number of conversations with Prof. Takahashi during the summer of

1996. He was very interested in Beckett's whimsy in the naming of the characters in

ENDGAME. There are several interpretations of this. For example Clov as a clove

on the ham that is Hamm and Hamm as the son of Noah. But the version that

Prof. Takahashi was most drawn to was the idea of Hamm as a hammer with Clov,

Nagg and Nell as nails that he is pounding at.20He found this "whack-a-mole"

dynamic to be central to the play.

In a conversation I had with Prof. Takahashi in 1987 he told me of a letter

that he wrote to Beckett asking about the so called "Alienation effect" that was the

rage in Europe at the time of the letter. Many people were describing Beckett using

this term and Prof. Takahashi asked Beckett what he thought. Beckett's answer has

never been far from my heart since I heard it:

It is my intention to create as deep, wide and dark a gulf as is

possible, between the stage and the audience...

...and then jump over it.21

IMAGE imgs/Thesis_II_(WP)13.gif