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General Note

  • Katharine Worth
Chapter
Part of the Text and Performance book series (TEPE)

Abstract

A very special situation exists where the relation of Beckett’s texts to performance is concerned. Beckett began directing his own plays in the sixties, setting dauntingly high standards of precision and control. The Production Notebooks he kept on these occasions provide a wonderfully illuminating record not only of his directorial decisions but also of his changing thoughts on the plays. In the interval (often long) between writing a work and directing it, his view of the play had sometimes changed quite radically. Waiting for Godot, for instance, seemed to him ‘Messy’ and ‘not well thought out’ when he returned to it as director, with by then considerable stage experience. It has followed that in directing his plays he has tended to rewrite them in a minor way, making small but significant cuts, changing a line or a visual arrangement and so forth. These were production changes and might have been thought of as not affecting the text. But because they have proceeded from so authoritative a source they have already, in advance of new texts appearing, acquired a strange, shadowy, textual life. Directors who know of Beckett’s amendments have sometimes (as we will see) incorporated them into their own productions, using the ‘other’ text which is seen as superseding the printed one.

Copyright information

© Katharine Worth 1990

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  • Katharine Worth

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