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


I didn't understand.30

Here is a microcosm of what we were discovering about the text as a whole.

Clov has a specific interpretation of Nell's text that is localized to Clov's situation,

but it doesn't dispel the sense that there is more. Something which defies

understanding is passed on along with what is understood.

This also applied to Hamm's repeated reference to "This...this...thing."31The

obvious ambiguity of the word "thing" can be exploited here to refer to everything

from this very moment in the theatre with these two actors, to all of existence

throughout all time. The challenge in playing it became finding a way to open this

door as widely as possible without losing the specificity of the theatrical moment,

and Hamm's frustration with Clov's inability to understand the unspeakable.

As we started to understand how to play some of these moments, and tread

the razor edge of meaning vs non-meaning, Beckett's humor began to emerge in an

entirely new light for me. Indeed the play itself began to seem like a massive prank

by Mr. Beckett. I began to see Beckett as being acutely aware of the audience's

experience in watching the play.

Let us assume an audience has come to the theatre with certain expectations

about the evening. These range from the expectation of ribald entertainment to the

expectation of intellectual stimulation/interest, and philosophical/poetic

fulfillment. Given the nature and impact of WAITING FOR GODOT, all of these

are reasonable expectations for Beckett's audience. What they are confronted with

however, is a rather steep hill to climb with a rather irritating, blind, chair-bound

man and an apparent half-wit slave. The most pleasant characters, who have been

IMAGE imgs/Thesis_II_(WP)19.gif