Guest Observation: Samuel Beckett

The Netflix business model is brilliant if all customers are like us. We got a DVD of several Samuel Beckett plays (part of an Irish-British TV project, “Beckett on Film”) about a month ago and still have it. I don’t know — “The Wire” and even a reprise of “Band of Brothers” have gotten in the way. But Kate told me that the production of “Waiting for Godot” was great, so we put that on tonight while we waited for the rain to come. One nice surprise: Johnny Murphy, who played Joey “The Lips” Fagan, the trumpeter, in “The Commitments,” plays the tramp Estragon, one of the two main characters. Barry McGovern plays the other tramp, Vladimir. The set up to the little speech below–little, but one of the longest in the play–is a line from a character who twice passes through the tramps’ landscape. His synopsis of the human condition: “They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it’s night once more.” That prompts a reflection from Vladimir.

Was I sleeping, while the others suffered? Am I sleeping now? Tomorrow, when I wake, or think I do, what shall I say of today? That with Estragon my friend, at this place, until the fall of night, I waited for Godot? That Pozzo passed, with his carrier, and that he spoke to us? Probably. But in all that what truth will there be?

(Estragon, having struggled with his boots in vain, is dozing off again. Vladimir looks at him.) He’ll know nothing. He’ll tell me about the blows he received and I’ll give him a carrot.

Astride of a grave and a difficult birth. Down in the hole, lingeringly, the grave digger puts on the forceps. We have time to grow old. The air is full of our cries. But habit is a great deadener. (He looks again at Estragon.) At me too someone is looking, of me too someone is saying, He is sleeping, he knows nothing, let him sleep on.”

So: now we can send the DVD back. And just now, the rain started.

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