Rough for Theatre II · Play
25 September 2009
Samuel Beckett is among the most important writers of the 20th century; he has attained the status of a modern classic. His rich dramatic opus has made an enormous mark on contemporary theatre, influencing countless playwrights and continuing to inspire generations of young theatre authors. In both one-act plays the characters are placed in extreme, existential situations. In Play (1964), one of Beckett’s best-known works, a man and two women—now dead—discuss a love triangle in which they were once involved.Through their reminiscences we hear three takes on the same, almost banal, story about adultery. Due to its unusual setting, however, the story acquires further dimensions.With an ironical insight only acquired beyond the grave, the characters explore the full range of human weakness: passion, possessiveness, jealousy, deceit, and fear of being abandoned. Death does not keep these protagonists from fighting for their rights, and the friction among them brings a peculiar humour into the situation. Indeed, Play has been labelled “Feydeau seen from beyond the grave”. Never before performed on the Slovene stage, Rough for Theatre II (1976) is also a unique take on the “life story.”Two unusual “experts” are investigating a potential suicide victim; they are charged with helping him take the final decision. From his dossier they reconstruct a profile of the man—who stands speechless and motionless in front of the open window, facing his fatal decision. In the process, the bureaucrats sketch out the details from which human life is constructed.Their absurd actions, imbued with gallows humour, reveal funny as well as strange and tragic aspects of a life which, reduced to documents, appears miserable and failed.