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Samuel Beckett

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NEWS
December 26, 1989 | Daily News Wire Services
Nobel Prize-winning author Samuel Beckett, who created a world of everlasting despair and left theatergoers "Waiting for Godot," died at age 83 of respiratory failure and was buried today, his publisher said. The playwright, poet and novelist whose work depicted death and decay as mankind's sole and inescapable destiny, was buried this morning at Montparnasse Cemetery in a private ceremony, said publisher Jerome Linden. The playwright died Friday in Paris, Linden said. The Irish-born author of "Godot" and "Endgame" rejected the redeeming optimism that might have made him more accessible to a mass audience and gained him earlier recognition as one of the century's greatest writers.
NEWS
December 27, 1989 | By Nancy Goldner, Inquirer Staff Writer Inquirer wire services contributed to this report
Samuel Beckett, the Nobel Prize-winning writer whose bleak outlook and spare style revolutionized the course of 20th-century literature, died of respiratory failure on Friday in a Paris nursing home. His death, at the age of 83, was not announced until yesterday, when he was buried in secrecy at Montparnasse Cemetery. A spokesman for Editions de Minuit, Mr. Beckett's French publishing house, said the death of the Dublin-born dramatist had been kept quiet to respect his lifelong desire for privacy.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 31, 1996 | By Clifford A. Ridley, INQUIRER THEATER CRITIC
The young woman in the vintage formal gown clutches the prison bars and begins to speak: "If I said, There's a way out there, there's a way out somewhere, the rest would come. What am I waiting for then, to say it? To believe it? And what does that mean, the rest? Shall I answer, try to answer, or go on as though I had asked nothing? I don't know . . . " In the cell behind her, a man laboriously climbs an iron ladder. Two other men, seated on a catwalk, dangle telephones into the cell.
NEWS
May 21, 1991 | by Nels Nelson, Daily News Theater Critic
Novel Stages artistic director David Bassuk has taken great pains to publicly explain that his company's production of "Waiting for Godot," which opened last night at Stage III of Temple University Center City, is the first area staging of the Samuel Beckett play to draw on Beckett's notes from his own direction of the play in 1975. The changes, according to Bassuk, "illuminate the underlying humor and dramatic tension" of the play and make evident its "original shape. " As purely a witness and not in any case more than a casual admirer of Beckett's work, I'll take the director's word for it. What I did notice was that for the first time ever, a performance of "Godot" did not stupefy my hindquarters.
NEWS
October 21, 1986 | By Douglas J. Keating, Inquirer Staff Writer
Theatergoers may not always understand what the characters are saying in Samuel Beckett's oblique, abstract play Waiting for Godot, but for a production to be successful, the audience must be made to feel the situation of the characters Estragon and Vladimir. This classic work of the modern theater is very much a play of mood. A sense of emptiness, of the futility of speech and activity in the face of a disinterested universe, should surround Beckett's tramps. And that sense of cosmic despair should be palpable, to contrast sharply with the spirit of the characters.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 14, 2006 | By Howard Shapiro INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Modern life got you down? Are your heart and soul bound in existential knots? Is your life an absurdist pockmark? Then stay away from the Gate Theatre of Dublin's magnificent production of Waiting for Godot - you'll only get worse. For the rest of us, it's sheer joy. Director Walter D. Asmus stages Samuel Beckett's masterpiece with every regard due its fragile characters and its comic dimensions. The production, which runs through tomorrow afternoon as part of the Penn Presents series at the Annenberg, elicits lots of gentle laughter.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 8, 1994 | By Douglas J. Keating, INQUIRER THEATER CRITIC
The new Lantern Theater Company, which intends to perform classical works, is starting life with a sound, if unexceptional, production of Samuel Beckett's modern classic Waiting for Godot. Director Charles McMahon, who is also artistic director of the new theater and an actor in the production, presents a busy, active Godot, a show that revels in the vaudeville clowning among and comic interaction between the characters. By emphasizing the theatricality of the piece, McMahon lets the philosophical implications of this deliberately ambiguous work fall where they may. It's an approach of which Beckett, who refused to be drawn into discussions of the meaning of the play, would approve and that the audience at the opening performance Friday at the Walnut Street Theatre's Studio 3 appeared to enjoy.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 20, 2001 | By Douglas J. Keating INQUIRER THEATER CRITIC
The play opens with two masked figures hooded in monk's cowls, white crosses emblazoned on their chests, wielding sticks and beating a shabbily dressed man. The program says this is Waiting for Godot, but if you don't recall that scene as the beginning of Samuel Beckett's masterwork, your memory isn't failing you. It's not in the play. Nor should it be. There are other things, principally incidental music, that director Tom Bazar has interjected into his production for Hunger Theater at Walnut Street Theatre's Studio 5. They also detract from rather than enhance the play.
NEWS
May 22, 1991 | By Clifford A. Ridley, Inquirer Theater Critic
If Waiting for Godot isn't the King Lear of our time - the play that can never be staged with total success but that everyone wants to attempt anyway - it's surely among the top contenders. The latest company to have a whack at it is Novel Stages, which opened its version Monday night at Stage III. And if this production, too, falls considerably short of perfection, enough of the play emerges intact to warrant a theatergoer's attention. Whether that's to the credit of Novel Stages or to the indestructibility of Samuel Beckett's baggy-pants allegory is a question that, like the identity of the perennially tardy Godot, is probably unanswerable.
NEWS
January 16, 2008 | By Toby Zinman FOR THE INQUIRER
Anyone who has ever felt stuck in an impossible situation (a marriage, a job, a town, a life - and who has not?) will identify easily with Samuel Beckett's courageously cheerful heroine in Happy Days, who is, quite literally, stuck. Fiona Shaw, in a major production transferred from London, is singing Winnie's song at Brooklyn Academy of Music with fierce power. The initial soundscape is almost as unsettling as the landscape: harsh, loud white noise mingled with random melodic music in a wrecked world - rocks, hunks of concrete, rubble - within the magnificent wreck of the Harvey Theatre, BAM's crumbling signature venue.
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NEWS
January 26, 2014 | By Toby Zinman, For The Inquirer
Imagine the universe as a snow globe - you know, one of those round glass paperweights you turn upside down and it snows. Within this snow globe is a little house and a little tree and two women who are stuck inside, trying to figure out what they're doing there. This is the premise of Snowglobe , a new play by Nicholas Wardigo at the Shubin Theatre. If you're going to premiere a whimsical one-act meditation on whether it is possible to prove the existence of God, you can't do better than to have Charlotte Northeast and Amanda Schoonover play Ingrid and Sonja, the two women.
NEWS
June 28, 2013
THE PHRASE "jewel box" is overused to the point of cliché, but there is absolutely no other way to describe the 134-seat hidden treasure where the Cape May Stage folks serve up their brand of stagecraft. Located in a 110-year-old building that was a church before being converted into the town's Welcome Center (and then into a theater), Cape May Stage's home may be the biggest surprise the historic burg has to offer. "When people come from Philadelphia, for example . . . they are always amazed at the comfortable seats, the air conditioning, even the [Italian]
ENTERTAINMENT
January 25, 2013 | By Wendy Rosenfield, For The Inquirer
The Arden Theatre's production of Endgame marks the first time this company - usually squarely in the province of narrative-driven plays and musicals - has taken on absurdist Samuel Beckett. So it's perhaps not all that surprising that director Edward Sobel attempts to impose a sort of contemporary narrative on Beckett's timeless apocalyptic vision; not surprising, but disappointing. In 1984, American Repertory Theater was famously made to add an insert to its Endgame program registering the playwright's disgust at director JoAnne Akalaitis' subway setting, incidental music, and interracial casting.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 11, 2011 | By Wendy Rosenfield, For The Inquirer
You've got to hand it to Dublin's Gate Theatre and much-admired Beckett interpreter Barry McGovern. By running Samuel Beckett's Endgame in repertory with McGovern's cut-and-pasted version of Beckett's wartime novel Watt, they give audiences an hour-long amuse-bouche alongside the main course, and a mostly painless introduction to one of Beckett's least-welcoming, and subsequently less-visited, works. Written over five years between 1941 and 1945 while Beckett - as a result of his involvement in the French Resistance - hid from the Gestapo in Rousillon, Watt was rejected by publishers until 1953.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 10, 2011 | By Howard Shapiro, Inquirer Staff Writer
For a fan of absurdist playwright Samuel Beckett, is there anything as comforting as seeing two large garbage cans onstage when the curtain comes up on Endgame ? A pair of his great oddballs, Nell and Nagg, will pop their heads from those cans, as they always do, to further elucidate or confuse things. The cans are a sign that a modern classic is about to begin, perhaps the last thing Beckett, who died in 1989, would have wanted: people becoming comfortable with his plays, knowing what to expect and even anticipating their own take on them.
NEWS
March 15, 2010 | By Toby Zinman FOR THE INQUIRER
EgoPo's Beckett festival ends with a big and brilliant bang: Waiting for Godot, the famous 20th-century play, in a charming, playful, and unpretentious production. Samuel Beckett's tragicomedy often becomes too clownish or too grim or too weirdly high-concept; at the risk of sounding like Goldilocks, this one is just right. Under Brenna Geffers' smart and crisp direction (she is brave and persuasive in taking the script's long pauses), the surprisingly young and very accomplished cast delivers the goods.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 13, 2009 | By Howard Shapiro INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Not even the sudden, magical, unscripted appearance of Godot himself - or maybe the Messiah, his possible alter ago - could save the lame production of Waiting for Godot that Amaryllis Theatre Company opened at the Adrienne Wednesday. I'm sure the Messiah would give it his best; it's what he does. The rest of us will have to settle for a Godot more like bad cooking than the heavenly theatrical hash Samuel Beckett created, and which debuted in 1953. In the mostly perfunctory Amaryllis version, codirected by Tom Reing and Amaryllis' producing artistic director Mimi Kenney Smith, you get all the ingredients and none of the taste.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 3, 2009 | By Howard Shapiro INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
We are up to our necks in it - whatever it is. That's what came to me after seeing the Lantern Theater production of Happy Days, the 1961 play by the absurdist Samuel Beckett. Until then, I'd only read Happy Days - which Beckett wrote with almost as much stage direction as dialogue, the former at times more absorbing. I was curious to see it unfold, if that is the word, on stage. And on balance, Lantern tackles the piece well. Happy Days asks: What does it mean when there's nothing to say, but we say it at length and repetitively?
NEWS
February 21, 2008 | By Toby Zinman FOR THE INQUIRER
Here's another absurd labor of love by the Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium, a theater company devoted to lesser-known works of the theater of the absurd, a dated subspecies of drama. Tina Brock, the artistic director and driving force behind this niche group has rounded up the usual suspects - Beckett, Durang and Ionesco - only to prove that sometimes little-known works are little known for good reason, despite the casts' solid performances. Three short plays make up the 75-minute program.
NEWS
January 16, 2008 | By Toby Zinman FOR THE INQUIRER
Anyone who has ever felt stuck in an impossible situation (a marriage, a job, a town, a life - and who has not?) will identify easily with Samuel Beckett's courageously cheerful heroine in Happy Days, who is, quite literally, stuck. Fiona Shaw, in a major production transferred from London, is singing Winnie's song at Brooklyn Academy of Music with fierce power. The initial soundscape is almost as unsettling as the landscape: harsh, loud white noise mingled with random melodic music in a wrecked world - rocks, hunks of concrete, rubble - within the magnificent wreck of the Harvey Theatre, BAM's crumbling signature venue.
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