one-off at the wrist

can you hear me mummer

De Maria’s Lightning Field made me think of Beckett’s Godot yesterday [I recently re-watched the entire 19 plays as made for Beckett on Film, 2001], perhaps due to the ‘waiting’  theme implicit in both.

I find the mummenschanz / slapstick of  Beckett intriguing. Here we are supposedly taking wisdom from a grand old gent [or so the western literature canon would have us believe] and what we often get is fart gags and vaudeville. Perhaps that is part of the aim? To show us that wisdom resides as much in the mundane as in the spiritual? To make clear the folly of believing there is any existential ‘truth’ other than which we choose to embrace?

The most uninteresting by far question asked of Beckett’s most famous play is, “Who is Godot?” This misses the point. It surely doesn’t matter. What is interesting is what is chosen [by the actors on the stage, and by implication the audience in their real lives once they leave the theatre] as ‘filler’ between cradle and grave.

Any fool can turn a blind eye but who knows what the ostrich sees in the sand.
Samuel Beckett, Murphy

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2 thoughts on “can you hear me mummer

  1. De Maria has just “passed away”, a euphemism which Beckett might have enjoyed playing with. Renowned too for his piece ‘The Vertical Earth Kilometer’, in Berlin, a 2 inch kilometer long brass cylinder inserted into the ground, and passing through six geological layers en route, well en route to nowhere…

  2. Democritus Junior. on said:

    Your remarks on the slapstick/fart gags/vaudeville in the supposedly deadly serious works of Samuel Beckett remind me of the following quote by Ludwig Wittgenstein: “Never stay up on the barren heights of cleverness, but come down into the green valleys of silliness.”

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