What does it mean "Beckett and Pinter: Speaking about Time, Memory and the Other"? -Particularly the Other)?
Plays to be studied: Endgame, The Dumb Waiter, Happy days, Krapp's Last Tape, Old Times, Landscape, Silence, Play.
These playwrights and these plays are trying to come to grips with the philosophical notion that we are not here as part of a special design, but instead are “inventing” humanity each time we choose to do something. The shortcut term for this inquiry is “existentialism” – the study of what we should do with our lives if existence precedes essence. The most important aspect of this inquiry is the study of the duality: “I” and “Other.” That is, what part of me is “me”? The stage is particularly suited to this inquiry, because at its base is “lies like truth,” the suspension of the so-called “rules,” the fictive embodiment of persons stepping outside the social and physical laws to imagine other possibilities. When reading these scripts, we must avoid trying to make them “make sense,” – no psychological character profiles, no historical mise-en-scene, no “logical” actions, but rather a three-dimensional allegory of the mental struggle to determine what is “right” action, what is existence. It is a difficult concept for students to grasp, because they are in the maturing process of “fitting in” while these playwrights are trying to “eff the ineffable,” to look behind the illusion of three-dimensional existence, an inquiry that can only come later in life. In this light, we are daily “acting” in a play with no author.