Samuel Beckett

Samuel Beckett & Alan Schneider – Film (1965)

1. Samuel Beckett made a single work for projected cinema. It’s in essence a chase film; the craziest ever committed to celluloid. It’s a chase between camera and pursued image that finds existential dread embedded in the very apparatus of the movies itself. The link to cinema’s essence is evident in the casting, as the chased object is none other than an aged Buster Keaton, who was understandably befuddled at Beckett and director Alan Schneider’s imperative that he keep his face hidden from the camera’s gaze. The archetypal levels resonate further in the exquisite cinematography of Academy Award-winner Boris Kaufman, whose brothers Dziga Vertov and Mikhail Kaufman created the legendary self-reflexive masterpiece Man With a Movie Camera. Commissioned and produced by Grove Press’s Barney Rosset, FILM is at once the product of a stunningly all-star assembly of talent, and a cinematic conundrum that asks more questions than it answers. Read More »

Samuel Beckett – Krapp’s Last Tape & Eh Joe (1972 – 1966)

These two one act plays were shown as part of the “A Wake for Sam” season on the BBC.

Krapp’s Last Tape (UK, BBC, 1972, 35 mins)

Theatre play, written 1957 in English
First published: New York 1958; Paris 1959
First production: Royal Court Theatre, London, 1958, directed by Donald McWhinnie

Directed by Donald McWhinnie
Cast: Patrick Magee Read More »

Samuel Beckett – Quadrat 1+2 (1982)

‘Quad’, the first in a series of minimalist experimental television plays made by Beckett in the 1980s for the broadcaster Süddeutscher Rundfunk, operates with a serial game involving the motional pattern of four actors, but equally accommodating four soloists, six duos, and four trios. Four actors, whose coloured hoods make them identifiable yet anonymous, accomplish a relentless closed-circuit drama. Once inside the square, they are condemned to monotonously and synchronously pace the respectively six steps of the lengthwise and diagonal lines it contains, in part accompanied by varying drumbeat rhythms. Read More »

Samuel Beckett – Beckett at Süddeutscher Rundfunk (1966-1985)

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Samuel Beckett’s German Television productions for Süddeutscher Rundfunk.

Berühmt wurde Samuel Beckett als Theaterinnovateur (Warten auf Godot) und Romancier (Der Namenlose), der Literaturnobelpreisträger schrieb jedoch auch Hörspiele und inszenierte Kurzfilme für das Fernsehen. 1966 produzierte er für den Süddeutschen Rundfunk (SDR) im Rahmen der Reihe »Der Autor als Regisseur« das Fernsehspiel He Joe und schuf damit ein revolutionäres Stück Medienkunst. Bis 1986 folgten sieben weitere »crazy inventions«, wie Beckett seine TV-Arbeiten nannte. Immer wieder erprobt er, von den technischen Möglichkeiten des Theaters zunehmend enttäuscht, neue Arrangements für Stimme und Schweigen, für Raum, Kamera und Musik. Damit erfand Beckett, so Gilles Deleuze in dem Essay Erschöpft, neben den Sprachen des Romans und der Theaterstücke eine »Sprache III«: »Das Entscheidende beim Bild ist nicht sein kläglicher Inhalt, sondern die wahnsinnige Energie, die jederzeit explodieren kann.« Read More »