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Irish playwright Samuel Beckett won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1969. His Absurdist works are known worldwide for their near incomprehensibility to audiences as well as challenges for performers posed by his specific and structured stage directions. I chose to work with Beckett’s Play in rehearsal; I was able to find new meaning in the script by straying from the original stage directions and applying performance as a research method. To begin, I researched performance as research. The use of performance as a teaching tool is spreading beyond theatre into education, religion, and therapy. Furthermore, theatre artists are incorporating developing technologies to create unique performance experiences. I also examined previous productions of Beckett works, looking at those that attempted to adhere to Beckett’s original stage directions, along with productions that admittedly altered the scripts. Any organization wishing to perform a Beckett piece is contractually obligated to follow the original stage directions. Beckett closed productions that violated these directions; his estate has continued the practice since his death in 1989. This research informed my work with Beckett’s Play. I experimented with various choices in casting, setting, and acting technique. By altering performance style, I was able to find new meaning in the piece with each new rehearsal and improvised stage direction.
Elder, Katelyn 1989- (2011). Rehearsing Beckett. Honors and Undergraduate Research. Available electronically from