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Why Doesn’t Winnie Grab the Shovel?

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Staging Beckett’s Happy Days in Early Post-Communist Romania

image of Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd'hui

The end of communism came so fast in 1989 that it took all of us Romanians by surprise. When, after two to three years, we finally understood that we really were free, we were seized by a great torpor. Suddenly, we discovered the freedom to do nothing. Working was communist, working hard, worse, Stalinist. Chatter was good. In this historical moment, against that mentality, I staged Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days in 1995, at the National Theatre Târgu-Mureş, offering a critical perspective on Winnie and using a style I called the immobile Commedia dell’arte. This essay will describe the director’s understanding of Beckett’s text, as well as the staging process in which the crucial point was the search for a theatrical expression of the play’s musicality.

Affiliations: 1: Lecturer, University of Arts, Tîrgu-Mureş, Romania


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