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Reading: To Go Down Singing: Stage Directions and Presence in Samuel Beckett's Happy Days

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To Go Down Singing: Stage Directions and Presence in Samuel Beckett's Happy Days

Author:

Sissel Lie

Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NO
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Abstract

Do we have the liberty to do what we want to with Beckett‘s texts? Perhaps the answer is yes—the text, after all, will still be there in its original glory after all its different productions are long forgotten. Nevertheless, I would argue that Beckett limits our freedom to create our own version of the play, and that for instance Happy Days is a work of art where theatrical space and objects, movements and sounds, as defined by Beckett, are as important as the play‘s verbal language. Only when these limitations are respected, I suggest, can we, as spectators, really benefit from the play. My comparison between Winnie in Happy Days and another literary figure, Mary Poppins, underlines the strangeness of the everyday objects in Winnie‘s bag, and gives the seemingly everyday objects of Beckett‘s stage directions a magical aura, and shows how vital stage directions in the text and on stage is to the readers‘ and spectators‘ experience of Beckett‘s play.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.35360/njes.209
How to Cite: Lie, S., 2010. To Go Down Singing: Stage Directions and Presence in Samuel Beckett's Happy Days. Nordic Journal of English Studies, 9(1), pp.17–35. DOI: http://doi.org/10.35360/njes.209
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Published on 01 Jan 2010.

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