Well known for his ability to create tragicomic and quirky reflections on day-to-day life, Samuel Beckett has inspired many over the years, and continues to do so today.
From his from fast-moving monologues to the full-length masterpiece Waiting For Godot, we’ve compiled a list of exemplary works from the Nobel Prize-winning playwright.
Happy Days (US/UK)
(Monologues, Comic Drama / 1f, 1m)
Winnie, buried to her waist, follows her daily routine and prattles to her husband, Willie, who is largely hidden and taciturn. Her frequent refrain is “Oh this is a happy day.” As the play continues and she becomes further entrapped in the soil, is she able to acknowledge the position she is in, or will she continue to reminisce on those happy days of the past?
Krapp’s Last Tape (US/UK)
(Monologues, Drama / 1m)
A tour-de-force for one actor, Krapp’s Last Tape is Beckett’s most affectionate portrait of a character: an aging man who lives a lonely and shabby existence in a darkened room. At year’s end, Krapp takes out a bottle of wine, a banana and his tape recorder, and he listens as his own voice from the past recounts the glories and hopes of his youth.
Not I (US/UK)
(Monologues, Drama / 1f)
In this short dramatic monologue set in a pitch-black space, a woman’s mouth is illuminated only by a single beam of light as she relates four incidents from her life in a ferocious pace. The woman, in her seventies, appears to have survived a traumatic experience, though she continually denies her participation in the very stories she tells.
(Short Play / 1f)
This brief piece charts a woman’s journey back into life before she arrives at death. In it, an elderly woman, shrouded in a black lace high-necked dress, rocks in a chair while the audience hears a distant voice remembering her lifelong search for human contact and affection. As with many of Beckett’s plays, it is often described as being a performance poem, delivered as a play.
Waiting for Godot (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 4m, 1 boy)
Waiting for Godot is considered the masterpiece of existentialism, in which Samuel Beckett explores the futility of man’s hope. Two wandering tramps, Vladimir and Estragon, wait by a lonely tree to meet up with Mr. Godot, an enigmatic figure in a world where time, place and memory are blurred and meaning is where you find it. The tramps hope that Godot will change their lives for the better. Instead, two eccentric travellers arrive, one man on the end of the other’s rope.
Discover more of Samuel Beckett’s works on our website!