Fintan O'Toole states: "Plays survive not by being carefully preserved, not by being exhibited from time to time in theatrical museums, but by being tried and tested, taken apart and reassembled" (Game Without End).One of the great misconceptions and critiques of Samuel Beckett is of his presumed unrelenting control over his works. Artists, hoping to creatively collaborate with Beckett as they move his texts to performance, feel limited by his strict enforcement of that which he has written in his texts. Traditional relationships and functions allow directors to interpret an author's text. Not so with Beckett. Beckett demands that directors follow his authorial intentions as stated by his 'direct expression,' the indissoluble link between form (the text's physical nature) and content (the ideas expressed) within his texts. Beckett's control of his 'direct expression' is not a method of forcing meanings and interpretations upon his collaborators and his audience members. Rather, his purpose in protecting his 'direct expression' throughout the production process is to ensure the text's 'lack' of meaning and to preserve its ambiguities in performance. In this thesis I will analyze and argue that by preserving this 'direct expression' in Beckett's texts, the active relationships between author and reader (audience members) will be preserved throughout the production process and ultimately in the performance. Through this relationship, the viewer of the performance has the opportunity to become what Jacques Ranciere refers to as a more "active participant," composing their own poem with elements of the poem before them (Ranciere 13).



College and Department

Fine Arts and Communications; Theatre and Media Arts



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Samuel Beckett, theatre