Katherine Weiss
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Passing by, gazing upon
Gendered agency in adaptations of Come and Go and Happy Days
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This chapter looks at how experimental theatre companies, directors and artists channel Samuel Beckett’s sensitivity to the ways women lose their agency when exposed to the patriarchal gaze. Through casting and spatial locations, Mabou Mines, Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne have transformed the quiet and mysterious Come and Go into a blistering look at the audience’s narrowly focused gaze. Patricia Rozema’s film Happy Days and Arlene Shechet’s installation piece Passing By are vibrant site-specific performances that seek to transform the gaze of the audience into one of compassion. These four adaptations, when looked at together, appear to turn the gaze from the characters to the audience. These adaptations managed to blur the borders of what is Beckett and what is theatre by exploring the gaze in his work, and in doing so the audience find themselves looking at the way they look at Beckett’s women.

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Beckett’s afterlives

Adaptation, remediation, appropriation


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