Trish McTighe
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Kurt Taroff
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Engines of reverence? Beckett, festivals and adaptation
in Beckett’s afterlives
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The Happy Days Enniskillen Beckett Festival’s frequent use of non-traditional sites for performance stages a tension between text and site, in which the place of performance may alter the meaning of the text but without any proscribed (by the Beckett Estate) textual alteration. While not alone in seeing the spatial potential of Beckett’s work, Sean Doran’s programming of the festival manages a novel approach to presenting the short works within a festival context. He creates a journey to and from the performance, leading to a festival that is both generically and spatially unruly and which maps Beckett’s artworks onto the local landscapes. An interaction of some sort with the landscape becomes a vital aspect of audiences’ experiences of these productions. This body of spatially and generically unruly productions provides a new way of working within textual boundaries, creating living, breathing versions of the works. In a sense, the festival refuses the logic of boundaries, whether of institutional, geographic, generic or textual sorts. Contextualising this festival within the broader field of biographical and international arts festivals, this essay will trace how site offers a new mode of adaptation within the Beckett canon, reframing the tensions in the work between text and performance and showing how Beckett’s work can be seen, in certain contexts, as more porously open to change than is generally thought to be the case. This chapter will show how site and the festival form of production intertwine in this process of adaptation.

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Beckett’s afterlives

Adaptation, remediation, appropriation


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