Endgame

An Exploration of Movement in Beckett’s Dramatic Works: 'Play,' 'Film,' and Others College

Beckett once stated in regard to his plays that “any production which ignores my stage directions is completely unacceptable to me”[1]; a famous rule cautioning the director from straying far from the playwright’s vision. Crucially, Beckett’s warning emphasises the importance of movement within his dramatic works; the steps; pauses and even blinks of each character, and more broadly, the movement of lighting and set pieces are essential to understanding what he is attempting to convey. His work is “a poetry of moving images”[2]. If movement is to take a central position within his oeuvre, I will argue that it is also the focal point of a great deal of anxiety that surrounds the cessation this movement. If all plays must have a beginning and ending, and what comes in between is the movement from the former to the latter, then Beckett’s characters and stage directions repeatedly try to create a schism in this dramatic progression: the audience is subject to repetition, the blurring of beginnings with endings. This anxiety towards the final ‘end’, a state of stasis, manifests itself in images and themes that recur throughout his works; the attempted destruction of the static nature of the photograph as a rejection of the...

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