Corey Wakeling. Beckett’s Laboratory. Experiments in the Theatre Enclosure


  • Simona Brunetti Performing Arts, Verona



In Beckett’s Laboratory. Experiments in the Theatre Enclosure, Corey Wakeling proposes an original approach to Beckett’s dramaturgical work, demonstrating that his writings for the theatre self-consciously use the theatre as a laboratory for investigating the theatrical representation in the 20th century. The key elements of his argument are very simple: first, to clear up the misconceptions about Beckett’s attitude to experimental theatre; second, to identify his views on modernism; finally, to revise the concept of his authorship. The core work of the book is then divided into seven closely related chapters that explore different aspects of the argument: use of pantomime; sensory deprivation; symbolist inheritance; dream space; spectacle and politics; hypnosis; adaptation. Focusing on the philosophical underpinnings of Beckett’s practice and his practical approach to playwriting, an eclectic mix of plays and their corresponding theatrical productions are examined in detail. This dense and original study sheds new light on Beckett’s dramatic work with a particular emphasis on the plays of the late period. By reconsidering this approach to stage directing and the innovative representation of humanity that emerged in his stage practice, the author of this book reassesses Beckett’s dramaturgies as compositions essentially intended for performance. Although provocative in relation to a more traditional critical view and, at times, extremely careful to bring out different aspects and alternative interpretations of his latest dramaturgy, Wakeling’s analysis is particularly compelling regarding the process of formal experimentation that underlies the Irish playwright’s dramaturgical creation and indirectly offers an entirely new perspective on his theatrical production.

Keywords: Beckett; late dramas; laboratory; experimentalism; performance

Author Biography

  • Simona Brunetti, Performing Arts, Verona