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A theatre of ruins. Edward Bond and Samuel
Beckett: theatrical antagonists
Graham Saunders
Published online: 03 Jan 2014.
To cite this article: Graham Saunders (2005) A theatre of ruins. Edward Bond and Samuel Beckett: theatrical
antagonists, Studies in Theatre and Performance, 25:1, 67-77
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Studies in Theatre and Performance Volume 25 Number 1 2005 Intellect Ltd
Article. English language. doi: 10.1386/stap.25.1.67/0
A theatre of ruins. Edward Bond and
Samuel Beckett: theatrical antagonists
Graham Saunders
Abstract
The playwright Edward Bond has long made known his antagonism to dramatists
allied to Martin Esslins Theatre of the Absurd. The work of Samuel Beckett has
come in for particular criticism by Bond. Using published writings (and unpub-
lished correspondence between myself and Bond), I hope to trace the development
of this antagonism between Bondian and Beckettian views of theatre. However,
this article will also set out to argue that both early work such as The Popes
Wedding (1962), and more recent work such as Coffee (1995), make use of
motifs, characters and ideas from Becketts theatre. The article will set out provi-
sional reasons why Bond, despite his misgivings, is not averse to incorporating
elements from Becketts theatre of ruins, as he terms it, into his own work.
In 1967 the dramatist Edward Bond made a comment that perhaps sums
up his relationship to the theatre of Samuel Beckett and the group of
dramatists Martin Esslin has associated with his work: I dont like the
Absurdists. I am an optimist. I believe in the survival of mankind. I dont
believe in an Endgame or Waiting for Godot (Hay and Roberts 1978: 26).
Judging from a notebook entry in 1984, the sentiment remained
unchanged:
There can be no good play about life which isnt in praise of it. And what can
a play be about if not ultimately life? And so there can be no good play which
doesnt praise life. This is an argument against Theatre of the Absurd.
(Stuart 2000: 181)
However, this clear statement of viewpoint is not founded upon immediate
prejudice against Becketts work, but has been arrived at from what seems
to have been a long engagement with both the novels and plays: as early
as 24 November 1959 an entry in the published notebooks comments on
the scatological references in the novel Molloy (Stuart 2000: 44), while a
much later and extensive entry on 30 September 1987 compares the
figure of the hero in Hamlet and Waiting for Godot (Stuart 2001: 278-82).
In this article I will attempt to trace this dialogue with Becketts work, and
also hope to show how Bond has made use of Becketts theatre in his own
work: a usefulness born out of antagonism. He may have been influenced
by their (somewhat surreal) one and only meeting in the late 1960s:
67
STP 25 (1) 6777 Intellect Ltd 2005
Keywords
Beckett
Bond
political theatre
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We met in the public lounge of a hotel in Knightsbridge - the Hyde Park
Hotel I think. He came in a little late. He wore a brown suit and a tie. We had
drinks. He said, When I was in London I lived at the Worlds End. I said,
Ive lived there too. I think this was not the expected reply. He said, I only
went out at lunch time on Sundays. I dutifully asked why. He said, Then
everyone was in the pub or at home eating Sunday lunch. The streets were
deserted. I found myself abruptly leaning forward and staring closely into
his eyes. I hadnt meant to, it was a reflex. Id noticed that his eyes were
dead. They were like cods eyes on a fishmongers stall. They were pale blue
and seemed to swim in melted ice. I suppose my sudden gesture and stare
seemed rude. I had not intended this. It was a movement of genuine surprise.
His movement was as abrupt as mine had been. He turned round on his
heels and hurried from the room. After the formal introductions these were
the only words exchanged.
1
This enmity may have been a reciprocal one. Katherine Worth, in her
book Life Journeys, recounts a conversation she had with Beckett in 1981
regarding Bonds play Restoration, and its objective to advocate change in
the world. Becketts response was reportedly let it burn, delivered in a
tone of wry good humour, the tone of one aware that the world would
refuse to change - and probably wouldnt burn (Worth 2001: 10).
Becketts gesture of helpless compassion (Beckett 1986: 375), embod-
ied in a theatre that confronts us with a bleak picture of a human condi-
tion bedevilled by suffering and even more bedevilled by the illusion of
hope (Hamilton and Hamilton 1976: 196), is both anathema and a
source of frustration to Bond. In a letter to the playwright David Spencer
he comments, I am made weary by the theatre of Samuel Beckett because
it is written with great care and artistry and yet nothing comes out of it
except pity (Bond in Stuart 1996: 23). Critical opinion seems divided on
the pessimistic outlook of Becketts work. Many critics, including Martin
Esslin, John Fletcher, Michael Robinson and Al Alvarez argue that,
through the depiction of suffering, something noble emerges from the
human spirit. Out of this arises the figure of the Beckettian hero, con-
demned to fail but going on regardless. John Fletcher observes:
If Beckett is gloomy about life, he retains a sort of faith in man; not the faith
that can be expressed in the accents of a time that knew no Passchendaele or
Auschwitz, for they now no longer ring true, but a faith that he expresses in
his own way, by setting up against the tyrants his heroes, who battle on defi-
antly against all efforts to subdue them
(Fletcher 1964: 14)
Bonds response to such defences of Becketts work operates around what
he terms theories based around a spark of humanity emerging out of a
bleak artistic vision.
2
He discusses this problem in a 1980 newspaper
article:
1. .Edward Bond. Letter
to author, 30 June
2003.
2. An entry for 16
September 1980 in
Bonds notebooks sees
him using the
human spark
analogy to criticize
Becketts work (Stuart
2001: 52).
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Beckett [...] is said to have shown that however you degrade people an
unquenchable spark of humanity remains in them [...] Experience in con-
centration camps is often offered as proof of this. In them many victims sub-
jected to ultimate degradations still retain the human spark. Unfortunately
the argument is false. Those who ran the camps did not retain it [...] And if
the theory of the spark were true - how would that guide us through the des-
perately needed reorganization of society, or teach us to express our human-
ity in the changing world? It is as if Beckett told us to be comforted because
in the lungs of the corpse there is still a pocket of air. What use is that to the
living? What teaching is that for the young?
(Bond 1980: 12)
Waiting for Godot is a useful play by which to test this assertion. While it
has been described as one of the defining works of twentieth-century
European culture (Bradby 2001: 1), the blathering between the tramps
and Becketts own reported comment that, in Godot, everything is a game
(McMillan and Fehsenfield 1988: 140) prompt Bonds observation that,
essentially, the characters [...] actively contemplate their own paralysis,
harvest repeatedly their own sterility (Stuart 2001: 281). He goes on to
observe that the only speaker with any true insight or function in the play
is Lucky, yet the only one who could speak is not permitted to speak
(Stuart 2001: 281).
By 2000, Bond had adjusted and refined this position somewhat, in
that he comes to an understanding that both Becketts and Brechts
theatre attempt in their own ways to describe what is presently wrong
with human existence.
3
However, for Bond the dramatic means by which
they describe the world and its problems are simply not adequate. He
humorously gives the two dramatists an epithet taken from a venerable
but faded English institution - the B & B or Bed and Breakfast - a handy
but run-down form of accommodation.
4
The intent behind their drama is
likened by Bond to ringing a bell to alarm people of a fire by first removing
the clapper. Bond concedes that perhaps the problems of their own time
were so urgent that the gesture alone was sufficient, yet their drama in his
view simply is not adequate to confront the social problems we face today.
Endgame is a case in point. At the time of its production in 1957
Beckett perhaps didnt need to draw attention to the Cold War or nuclear
devastation, but managed to achieve the effect he wanted through the use
of the bare room and reports from Clov about the world outside the
window. Similarly, the immediate post-war generation in Paris, seeing
Waiting for Godot for the first time, probably did not need to be told about
the significance of black radishes being the only thing to eat, or the image
of Lucky at the end of the rope or his agonized and nihilistic think. One
could also argue that Becketts theatre is simply rendered political by the
fact that totalitarian Communist regimes in Russia, East Germany,
Romania and Bulgaria banned his work, as a play such as Waiting for
Godot might be interpreted by its audiences as a critique upon the regime
3. Edward Bond. Letter
to Stuart Seide, 16
May 2000.
4. ibid.
5. When the Chinese
writer Gao Xingjian
in 1983 wrote a play
called The Bus Stop,
based on Waiting for
Godot, it was
denounced by the
government authori-
ties. See Kuoshu
1998 and Bradby
2001: 178-79.
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that imposed its will on aspects of their daily lives.
5
David Bradby goes
further and argues that Godots political power remains, and that, far from
being an impotent cultural relic of the Cold War, the play still continues to
make tyrannical or totalitarian regimes uneasy (Bradby 2001: 179). He
also points out that recent productions in Paris (1991), Canada (1992)
and Sarajevo (1993) have all in some way addressed communities that
have suffered displacement and suffering.
Such claims over the political validity in Becketts work contrasted with
Bonds comments as to its redundancy might make us want to pause and
reflect. For while Waiting for Godot and Becketts drama in general might
well be important statements on suffering and the human predicament,
they ultimately propose a condition of stasis as a rationale by which to live.
The prospect of anyone or anything changing a given situation is always
rejected, where lines such as Nothing to be done (Beckett 1986: 11), and
Dont lets do anything. Its safer (Beckett 1986: 19), seem to represent
the political credo of Waiting for Godot. The tramps not only refuse to
relieve their own suffering, but fail to intervene on behalf of fellow suffer-
ers. When, for instance, they speculate about Luckys plight and the
running sore on his neck, Estragon observes its inevitable (Beckett 1986:
26). Even Vladimirs outrage at Pozzos ill treatment of his servant ulti-
mately falters and comes to nothing. When discussing productions which
have an explicitly political agenda, such as the one in Sarajevo at the time
of the Yugoslavian civil war, Bradby comments, For everyone concerned
in the enterprise, Godot was a potent metaphor for the frustrations and
hopelessness of their situation (Bradby 2001: 167), and yet it might be
argued that the audience watching the play in Sarajevo did not need a
play by Samuel Beckett to remind them about their oppression, but rather
a play that might have gone some way to dramatizing possible solutions.
Arguably, Becketts plays become even less politically engaged after
Waiting for Godot. Christopher Innes points out that the relevance of the
dedication of the play Catastrophe (1982) to the playwright/dissident
Vaclav Havel depends on the audiences prior knowledge of the fact, and
describes such late works in general as miniaturized models of psycholog-
ical victimization, images in a mental limbo (Innes 1992: 429). For Bond,
such a process has silenced the artist Beckett [and] silences or trivializes
all writers who follow his shadow (Bond 1980: 12). Bond calls this pes-
simism, irony without satire (Bond 1980: 12), whereby a model of
human suffering as a kind of meaningless cosmic joke, perpetrated by a
cruel or absent God, is one that has become a model by which many
dramatists reflect an age of irony and exhaustion (Bond: 1980: 12).
According to Bond, under such conditions, we actually begin to play out
our lives in patterns of resignation, like Krapp or Winnie, though he confi-
dently asserts that the ground for optimism is that the imagination is
never silent (Stuart 1996: 48).
Bonds comment about the imagination being an antidote to cynicism
is interesting in the light of what Beckett himself has said about the func-
70
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tion of art, and what other critics have observed about Becketts plays. Al
Alvarez for example believes that, ultimately, he is like a painter whose
distaste for the excesses of style and the claims of the imagination make
him end with a blank canvas (Alvarez 1973: 123). This tallies with
Becketts often-cited reference to the function of art as an expression that
there is nothing to express ... together with the obligation to express
(Beckett 1965: 103). Bond takes particular issue with the outright rejec-
tion, or refusal to acknowledge within itself, a sense of history in Becketts
theatre:
Sane men have always known that it is important that men know them-
selves. This means understanding what they do - and this must mean [...]
that we must understand the nature of our society, and the nature of the
records of societies, which is history. This Beckett failed to do. His failure was
in fact complete and really his mind degenerated into a denial of under-
standing. This trivialised him as a thinker and vulgarised him as an artist.
(Stuart 2001: 52)
In an interview entitled Modern and Postmodern Theatres, Bond
explains that a writer has the task of explaining things (Bond 1997: 99).
History is one of a number of key factors that allow such an analysis to
take place; the others include technology and society itself. For Bond, not
only Becketts work, but that of other Absurdists ignores such factors
which effectively makes their work a theatre of ruins (Bond 1997: 99). In
an earlier piece, entitled A Note to Young Writers, and written as part of
a series called The Activists Papers, Bond argues that the broad struc-
ture of history must be understood before the incidents give us meaning
(Bond 1992: 108), which is presumably why he feels that a play such as
Waiting for Godot is a play by a ghost, to be acted by ghosts before an audi-
ence of ghosts, in which the characters [...] actively contemplate their
own paralysis, harvest repeatedly their own sterility (Stuart 2001: 81). Is
this analysis fair to Beckett? As mentioned earlier, the tramps blackened
radishes and ill-fitting shoes in 1949 are arguably just as compelling and
meaningful an image of the displaced European refugee as Mother
Courages wagon. It is also true to say, though, that imagery in Becketts
work loses its relationship with empirical history in the plays written after
Waiting for Godot and Endgame. The spools and tape recorder in Krapps
Last Tape, the items in Winnies handbag from Happy Days and the chair in
Rockaby, all become images that form part of a private discourse - sepa-
rated in their turn from the relationship between historical events and
society.
At times, and somewhat paradoxically, Bonds familiarity with
Becketts drama has extended, albeit warily - and always self-consciously -
into his own work. This overt influence seems to have been at its strongest
during the earliest part of Bonds writing career. William Gaskill, who
championed his work in the 1960s at the Royal Court, recalls that along
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with an early play Klaxon in the House of Atreus (1958) were two shorter
submissions, one of which was rather Beckett-like, and the other rather
Brecht-like in style (Hay and Roberts 1978: 8). If Gaskills impressions are
right, this divergence of style provides a fascinating snapshot of Bonds
concerns at the beginning of his writing career, in that it implies a desire
to analyse both a wider political and social milieu alongside a parallel
concern with individual psychology. Arguably, when looking at the range
of work produced after The Popes Wedding (1962), Bond has gone beyond
either Brecht or Beckett in terms of formal experimentation; moreover, the
range of writing styles and voices he has been able to adopt seems posi-
tively chameleon.
Bonds first professionally staged play, The Popes Wedding, both con-
sciously and through force of circumstance, carried with it Becketts influ-
ence. Michael Mangan maintains that the figure of the reclusive Alen
could almost come out of a play by Beckett or early Pinter (Mangan
1998: 8). He also points out that the Royal Courts Sunday night
members-only production without decor meant that the set used canni-
balized elements from Becketts Happy Days (1962), which was playing in
the main house:
The juxtaposition of dialogue based on sharply observed everyday reality
with the scenic bric-a-brac of existential absurdism [...was] a fertile start to
Bonds career [...] arriving in the landscape of one of the classic writers of the
modern theatre, and taking it over and using it for his own, utterly different
purposes.
(Mangan 1998: 8)
While Mangan is right to point out that Alen is perhaps an antecedent of
Becketts Krapp or Pinters Davies, stylistically The Popes Wedding is a very
different play from any of Becketts or Pinters. Yet the figure of the recluse
is something that Bond returns to sporadically throughout his career -
figures such as Evens in The Sea (1973), Trench in The Worlds (1979) and
even Gregory in Coffee (1995) all owe something to the work of Beckett.
Bonds own awareness of this was explicitly articulated in his visualization
of the business tycoon Trench in The Worlds, who after a boardroom cull is
effectively sacked. He retreats from the world until his solitude is inter-
rupted by a group of terrorists who plan to kidnap him. Bonds physical
description of Trench was telling: Id like him played a bit like Samuel
Beckett ... The route Trench takes leads to a philosophy of despair, of
seeing no meaning in life, of destruction (Hirst 1985: 152-53). This posi-
tion can be seen at one point in the play where Trench is confronted by
two of the terrorists who have broken into his derelict house. One of the
terrorists makes the accusation that, despite rejecting his old life in big
business, the choice of withdrawing from society is equally reprehensible:
ANNA: You still belong to your business friends.
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TRENCH: (Calmly) Not true.
ANNA: You saw through them but you put nothing in their place. Theyre a
civilisation without morals. Youre a culture of despair. Absurd and empty.
You let them think they can still produce a human soul. A hermit to sit on
an island and tell them theyre nothing. They admire you. You give them the
illusion they have a moral sense.
(Bond 1992: 74)
Trenchs reply is that, I see things as they are. The title of the play, and
Trenchs reclusiveness, also reveals borrowings from Timon of Athens (c.
1607), which, as David Hirst points out, had obsessed Bond during the
writing of Bingo (1973), a play that also concerns itself with Shakespeares
retreat from society at the end of his playwriting career. Yet The Worlds
seems to be an explicit criticism of both Becketts and Shakespeares deci-
sion to make the actions of the recluse somehow noble, as somehow a sub-
stitute for action.
Whereas the Beckettian recluse either represents the durability of the
human spirit or inspires pity for the frailty of the human condition,
Trench in The Worlds is used as a figure through whom is demonstrated a
selfishness and defeatism that motivates his decision to retreat from the
world. Again, perhaps borrowing from the discussion in Act 4 Scene 3 of
Timon of Athens, Bond is keen to show the collision of the outer social
world with the inner private world of the individual. Whereas in Beckett it
is the characters inner world which is often depicted, with his solitary
characters repetitiously and continually pacing or rocking themselves
until the end comes, in Bond, the figure of the recluse becomes a useful
model through which to make a comparison between the world of appear-
ances and reality:
ANNA: Listen. There are two worlds. Most people think they live in one but
they live in two. First theres the daily world in which we live. The world of
appearance. Theres law and order, right or wrong, good manners. How else
could we live and work together? But theres also the real world. The world of
power, machines, buying, selling, working. That world depends on capital:
money!
(Bond 1992: 75)
This idea of parallel worlds running beside one another undergoes another
stage of development in the much later play Coffee (1995), in which a
character called Gregory, whom Michael Mangan describes as an oddly
Beckettian figure (Mangan 1998: 88), takes a younger man, Nold, on
what at first seems a dreamlike journey from his bedroom to a hovel set in
a forest, occupied by a woman and her young daughter. The scene then
changes to a ravine which is the site of a mass grave. Although these land-
scapes seem at first to be the stuff of expressionism, the site of the ravine is
based on a historical event - namely the mass killings of over 100,000
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Jews by a group of SS Einsatzgruppen at Babi Yar in the Ukraine during
September 1941.
With Coffee, the unworldly figure of Gregory and the arbitrary move
that he and Nold make through different locations and periods of history
serve to allow a collision between the imaginary and the material world.
For Bond, the imaginary world is derived from what he terms the radical
innocence of the child which we are all born with, but instead we are
forced to accept the institutions of social madness that constitute the
material world (Bond 2000: 166). Somehow, we live in the gap between
the two worlds and struggle to draw them closer (Bond 2000: 167), but
the two are never distinct from one another - they are always blurred.
6
This is the same effect that the dramatist Sarah Kane strove for in her play
Blasted (1995), published and performed the same year as Coffee. Here, a
hotel in Leeds, without explanation, becomes the site of a savage civil war
where whole seasons pass for the audience in a matter of minutes.
Effectively two worlds, along with the imaginary and the real, become
transposed. Taking Waiting for Godot as an example, this is the crucial
failure that Bond identifies in Becketts theatre:
Waiting for Godot is a play of the fin-de-sicle degeneracy because implicitly it
is set in the imagination world but interprets it in terms of the material
world. The play waits for Satan, to confirm imagination as material and
proffer evil as an excuse. It seeks to lave our banality with the placebo of
misery. Really the play has no imagination because it has no material world.
(Bond 2000: 167)
Yet for Bond, figures like Gregory and Alen - Beckettian recluses - serve a
useful purpose, in that their complete retreat and displacement from the
material world into the realms of the imaginary allow the audience to
more clearly discern the workings and associated problems of the real
world that Anna talks about. It also perhaps underscores why Beckett
himself did not seem much interested in going to see Bonds play
Restoration after Katherine Worth had told him that it set out to make us
revaluate so-called empiricist views of society.
The engagement with the actual figure of Samuel Beckett, however
obliquely in The Worlds, is reminiscent of the portrayal Bond gives to the
figure of Shakespeare in Bingo (1973) and the cultural myths of univer-
sality that have accrued around him. Instead of portraying Shakespeare
as a wise and benevolent arbiter of the humanist spirit, Bond chooses to
depict him as a taciturn and broken individual in retirement at New Place,
Stratford-upon-Avon, complicit, as landowner, in the eviction of his poor
rural neighbours as common land is taken from them to form enclosures.
Again, as with the tramps in Waiting for Godot, Shakespeare ruminates
over the barbarities he sees committed around him as the process of land
reform takes effect, but does nothing to stop them - and indeed as a
shareholder is involved with the oppression of his neighbours. The only
6. For a more detailed
discussion of Bonds
ideas on these two
states see the
following essays in
The Hidden Plot:
Notes on Theatre and
the State : Social
Madness (Bond
2000: 87-97) and
Rough Notes on
Justice (Bond 2000:
60-68).
74
Graham Saunders
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action he carries out is also a logical borrowing from Beckett - he
commits suicide.
Questioning the validity of Becketts reputation has been something
notably lacking from the prodigious volume of criticism generated over
the last fifty years, with Beckett and Shakespeare appearing to have
become the two writers we most associate as a benchmark for artistic
achievement. Ronald Hayman, in a comparatively early study of Beckett,
has been one of the few voices to take issue with his comparatively rapid
and unopposed canonization.
7
In response to Hugh Kenners 1961
study, he argues:
Kenner writes as though Beckett had succeeded in subsuming the whole
tradition of the novel and the whole tradition of the play [...] Part of the
greatness of King Lear and Othello lies in the sheer quantity of human expe-
rience that they take into the picture [...] Certainly to measure Beckett
against Tolstoy and Shakespeare is to judge him by the highest possible
standard, but hes so often called great that its important to see why he
isnt.
(Hayman 1968: 79-80)
Haymans scepticism over Becketts greatness largely concerns the
works narrowing of focus, and with it the loss of the range of human
experience that he identifies in the work of Shakespeare. Bonds critique
of Beckett also seeks to question easy assumptions of universality, and
points to the contradictions and dangers of failing to question areas that
go beyond artistic sublimity and ask instead questions about the political
and moral stance that the plays adopt. From there, a conclusion can be
reached as to whether they help in an engagement with the problems of
living in contemporary society.
If Bond does not subscribe to the view of Shakespeares status as a
dramatist, it is safe to guess his feelings about Beckett. Just as he has
been critical of the Shakespeare industry that valorizes the bard at the
expense of seeing where he can actually be useful to us, Bond reserves
considerable ire for various branches of the Beckett industry. Whereas
he acknowledges that Shakespeare as a writer [...] searches for human-
ness within the conditions of his time: this is the way humanness is
created historically so, in that they constitute an integral part of our
future (Bond 1997: 100), the academic and cultural apparatus that
sustains and develops Becketts reputation does so at the risk of valoriz-
ing a dramatist who, Bond maintains, had effectively nothing to say, and
what is more, continually told us so.
This factor, according to Bond, is what makes Beckett so appealing to
academia: I think Beckett is safe - he is obscure but says nothing: and
so academics may, if they wish, be obscure and say nothing - it is the
Academy of the Absurd.
8
He even describes one pre-eminent Beckettian
scholar in the following way:
7. See also Mercier
(1977: 237-38).
8. Edward Bond. Letter
to author, 30 June
2003.
75
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[They] are disaster and menace to [their] unfortunate students. If I could
ever get into [their] ivory tower I would write graffiti on the walls saying so.
Really [they] see theatre as art, culture, an abstraction - a sort of needle craft
without needles (you might prick yourself). [They] would see [themselves] as
engaged - as writing a commentary on real life. Drama isnt a commentary -
it is part of real life: it is an act, a theatre event.
9
The numerous Beckett conferences and festivals held around the world
also come in for particular scorn. In the same letter, Bond talks of a huge
Beckettfest in some New York theatre, which he sees simply as a gather-
ing in which all the intellectuals turned up and obfuscated in public. It
was a fashion event. When I originally told him of my interest in writing
a paper, on which this article is based, about his antagonism to Beckett
and the Theatre of the Absurd, along with my plan to present it at a con-
ference,
10
he replied, Well I hope you enjoy your next Beckettfest. I ought
to say something consoling but it escapes me.
11
Works Cited
Alvarez, Al (1973), Beckett, New York: Viking.
Beckett, Samuel (1965), Proust and Three Dialogues with Georges Duthuit, London:
John Calder.
- (1986), The Complete Dramatic Works, London: Faber and Faber.
Bond, Edward (1980), The Romans and the Establishments fig leaf , Guardian, 3
November.
- (1992), Plays: 4, London: Methuen.
- (1997) , Modern and Postmodern Theatres, New Theatre Quarterly, 50, pp. 99-
105.
- (2000), The Hidden Plot: Notes on Theatre and the State, London: Methuen.
Bradby, David (2001), Beckett: Waiting for Godot, Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press.
Fletcher, John (1964), The Novels of Samuel Beckett, London: Chatto and Windus.
Fletcher, John and Spurling, John (1972), Beckett: A Study of his Plays, London:
Methuen.
Hamilton, Alice and Hamilton, Kenneth (1976), Condemned to Life: The World of
Samuel Beckett, Grand Rapids, MI: Erdmans.
Hay, Malcolm and Roberts, Philip (1978), Edward Bond: A Companion to the Plays,
London: TQ Publications.
Hayman, Ronald (1968), Samuel Beckett, London: Heinemann.
Hirst, David (1985), Edward Bond, Basingstoke: Macmillan.
Innes, Christopher (1992), Modern British Drama, 1890-1990, Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
Kuoshu, Harry K. (1998), Will Godot come by bus or through a trace? Discussion
of a Chinese Absurdist play, Modern Drama, 41, pp. 461-73.
Mangan, Michael (1998), Edward Bond, Plymouth: Northcote House.
McMillan, Dougald and Fehsenfield, Martha (eds.) (1988), Beckett in Theatre,
London: Calder.
9. Edward Bond. Letter
to author, 22 January
2003.
10. Page and Stage: 50
Years of Performing
Beckett. Workshop
Theatre, School of
English, University of
Leeds, 20-22 June
2003.
11. Edward Bond. Letter
to author, 10 May
2003.
76
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Mercier, Vivian (1977), Beckett /Beckett, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Stuart, Ian (ed.) (1996), Edward Bond: Letters, vol. 3, Amsterdam: Harwood
Academic Press.
- (ed.) (1998), Edward Bond: Letters, vol. 4, Amsterdam: Harwood Academic
Press.
- (ed.) (2000), Selections from the Notebooks of Edward Bond: Volume 1: 1959-
1980, London: Methuen.
- (ed.) (2001), Selections from the Notebooks of Edward Bond: Volume 2: 1980-
1995, London: Methuen.
Worth, Katherine (2001), Life Journeys: Samuel Becketts Theatre, Oxford: Oxford
University Press.
Suggested Citation
Saunders, G. (2005), A theatre of ruins. Edward Bond and Samuel Beckett: the-
atrical antagonists Studies in Theatre and Performance 25: 1, pp. 6777,
doi: 10. 1386/stap.25.1. 67/0
Contributor Details
Graham Saunders is Senior Lecturer in Theatre Studies at the University of the
West of England, Bristol. He is the author of Love Me or Kill Me; Sarah Kane and the
Theatre of Extremes (Manchester University Press, 2002).
E-mail: Graham.Saunders@uwe.ac.uk
77
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