What can you say about Samuel Beckett? If you have ever seen “Waiting For Godot” performed live you’ll know the genius of the man.
Beckett is a supremely visual playwright, and so simply reading “Krapp’s Last Tape and other shorter plays” was never going to be an excessively rewarding experience. But having a sense of the man via “Godot”, it is easy to pick out the recurring themes in the 17 pieces in my Faber collection: the sparse stage, the subdued/focussed lighting, the oft-appearing character with white/grey hair, the unconventional perspectives, the prescribed and choreographed movement of the characters, the constant repetition in the dialogue, the constant repetition in the dialogue, the constant…etc.
I’m sure there is humour there too, but – like “Godot” – these are works to be seen.
Yet above all of this I think you mostly get a sense of Beckett’s sublime existentialism. In their own way, the plays seem to ask you what the point is of your reading them… So don’t expect clarity, plot, or a barrel of laughs!
These short plays won’t be for everyone.