New York

Samuel Beckett

Exit Art

Samuel Beckett’s rigorous attention to the staging of his own plays engendered a kind of orthodoxy where their production is concerned that has only recently begun to give way in the face of new approaches to his work. Not surprisingly, this reevaluation of Beckett’s oeuvre has been fueled by his own forays into media that fall outside traditional literary genres.

Many artists of the last 20 years have moved from performance to other artistic media that draw attention to the body’s presence or absence in various ways. In a sense Beckett’s video production is as much about performance as about words. In the television version of Not I, 1977, which he directed along with Anthony Page, the words are often incomprehensible. Instead, language bursts forth from the mouth of Billie Whitelaw. Her rapidly opening and closing mouth causes light to flicker from the monitor onto the faces of the

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