Samuel Beckett (1906–1989) was a university lecturer, Second World War resistance fighter, poet, essayist, novelist, translator, theatre director and Nobel Prize winner. However, he was best known as a playwright. His first produced play, Waiting for Godot, ran for 400 straight performances and has been called the most important play of the 20th century. With it, Beckett spearheaded a new artistic movement, the Theatre of the Absurd, and challenged subsequent generations of playwrights to look beyond realism.
But what does absurd actually mean? And how did Beckett embody it in his work? We will explore these and other questions through reading and watching videos of his plays. We’ll also look for meaning (if such a thing exists) and debate the literary worth and position in history of Beckett’s theatre.
Note: This course involves required reading.
Please note that enrollment in this course is reserved for adults 55+.