Samuel Beckett is well known for such famous plays as ‘Waiting for Godot’ and ‘Krapp’s last tape’, but some of his lesser known pieces or short theatrical sketches are just as powerful.
Catastrophe isn’t well known, but it always struck me as one of his most powerful pieces for stage. It’s his most political and also supposedly his most optimistic.
Its a short work consisting of one scene, in which a director and his assistant discuss a mute figure they are preparing for a performance: he is a dehumanised character, like a tailor’s dummy, at the mercy of their direction; his only gesture of independence is to raise his head at the end of the play – an act of resistance in the face of oppression. Its dedicated to then (1982) imprisoned Czech playwright Vaclav Havel.
“There’s our Catastrophe, in the bag!”
Harold Pinter: ‘Catastrophe’.
Note to Self:
- Man as Mannequin/Object.
- Person unfurled.