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* Phase 4Text work

In the fall of 1996, I began meeting with Rachel and Jay for more intensive

work with the text itself. Although we were still very open to discussions similar to

the earlier source work, there was much more of a focus on the play and how we

would approach it. We began reading the play through at each meeting.

A great deal of time was spent discussing the various interpretational

insights that we all had: Biblical parallels, clues to the actual nature of the characters

etc. As in the more oblique source work, we were not looking for things that we

would actually put onto the stage. Rather it was a process of hunting down every

hint and suggestion we could find in the text, finding as much as we could whether

it was practical or not. What we were looking for was layers. To build up a mass of

contradictions and paradoxes that would, in effect, cushion us from the danger of

looking for an interpretation that would tie us down.

What became clear was that we had to find an approach to performing the

play, rather than an understanding or explanation of the play. We had to find a way

to perform the play in a way that would hand the mysteries of it to the audience.

I had a strong sense that the play contained a great deal of comedy. The

problem would be preserving it. To find a way to provoke laughter without

lightening the situation. To balance the tragedy with the comedy. To borrow

Beckett's own term; a "tragicomedy." This was essential because I knew that if we

created something that was simply heavy, it would never hold. We had to find as

much color in the gray of this play as we could. Otherwise the gray would


The aspect of the text that was most problematic to us was Beckett's liberal

use of the "Pause." It was clear that Beckett was indicating something about the