Production History of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot Essay

Production History of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot Essay

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Production History of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot

 
     Samuel Beckett was forty-two years old and living in post-war Paris when he wrote Waiting for Godot as an exercise to help rid himself of the writer's block which was hindering his work in fiction. Once he started, he became increasingly absorbed in the play, and scribbled it almost without hesitation into a soft-cover notebook in a creative burst that lasted from October 9, 1948, until he completed the typed manuscript on January 29, 1949. After some revision, he offered the script to several producers, but it was refused. Although Beckett himself gave up hope with the script, his wife was more persistent, and, acting as his agent, she continued to approach producers. Finally, she met with actor/producer/director Roger Blin, who had produced a string of four under-funded and under-attended productions of Synge and Strindberg. Blin was immediately delighted with the piece. Unfortunately, money to produce the play was difficult to come by. Years passed between the writing and the actual production of the work.

In the meanwhile, while Blin continued to search for backers, he worked with Beckett to flesh out the play in choosing costuming (Beckett had only envisioned the bowler hats), style, and movement. Blin never asked Beckett to analyze the play, noting that "The play struck me as so rich and unique in its nudity that it seemed to me improper to question the author about its meaning." Instead, Blin worked almost instinctively through the three years of sporadic rehearsals. Casting was difficult; even though he was quite certain of his choices, contracts were only drawn up a few weeks before opening. Of necessity he ended up playing the part ...


... middle of paper ...


...ted in Esslin 2-3)

 

Although it took much of the world a little longer than these inmates to recognize the value of
Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, there is no doubt that it is now considered a classic. It has been
translated into numerous languages, and according to Bair, into more editions than Beckett could recall,
far more than all his other plays combined. Waiting for Godot is the play that will continue building his
reputation for many years to come.

Sources Cited

Bair, Deirdre. "Samuel Beckett," in British Dramatists Since World War II . Ed. Stanley Weintraub.

Detroit: Bruccoli Clark, 1982, pp. 52-70.

Cohn, Ruby. "Growing (Up?) with Godot," in Beckett at 80/Beckett in Context . Ed. Enoch Brater. New

York: Oxford, 1986, pp. 13-24.

Esslin, Martin.  The Theatre of the Absurd . Rev. ed. Garden City: Anchor, 1969.

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