Those people who think Beckett a prophet of despair, and his plays depressing, have, I think, missed some fairly significant points. His attitude towards his characters may be unsentimental, and irony certainly doesn't escape him, but the predominant feature is undoubtedly one of compassion. He acknowledges the difficulties we face in the certainty of our own demise, and that acknowledgement in itself is perhaps the only consolation possible: to know we are not alone. His observations strike me as being supremely pragmatic, courageous, and kindly. The philosophical basis, that the universe is immutably irrational and the search for meaning within its context is futile, invites us to consider the quality of our search for happiness and fulfilment. If life is meaningless, then refusing to gel depressed about it is surely a heroic aspiration!
So here is Winnie, suffering the profound effects of gravity, filling up her empty hours with routines, and seeking comfort for her solitude through talking - just like any one of us! But gravity's pull is strong. The price of her daily routines is the depletion of her resources. language means little without a social context - and Willie responds little. Therein lie her struggles. To me she embodies the ferocity of the human spirit, as she fights, disabled in the landscape, against the inevitability of her own degeneration. She is no hero, but neither will she give in to self-pity. Whether we weep for her, lough at her, or applaud her, she is ultimately a most human being.
I am deeply grateful to Marta Kaczmarek for involving me in this production. Congratulations to cast and crew for their extraordinary work.
And thank you for coming - may you have happy times!