Vancouver East Cultural Centre (CULTCH)

HAPPY DAYS by Samuel Beckett

Directed by Stephane Kirkland



by Ed Farolan


January 28-February 14, 1998 at 8 pm

I  look back at my beatnik and hippy years of the 60s and 70s and Beckett seemed at that time to symbolize for me the absurdity of things that were happening around me: The Vietnam War, the protest rallies, the rock concerts. I seemed to be in and yet out of all these happenings at that time. When I did go through graduate school, I felt this was what was closest to me: the whole existentialist and absurdist trip--from Sartre to Camus, Gabriel Marcel, Martin Buber, Eugene Ionesco and last but not least, Samuel Beckett.

This play, which I read, wrote about in numerous graduate theses, and I believe also saw produced as a university production around 30 years ago, however, doesn’t appeal to me anymore, although I do nostalgically look back into those days. Perhaps in my middle age I’ve lost that absurdist vein. Perhaps also I’m still a bit young to appreciate the routine and absurd existence of senior citizens, the so-called “golden agers” who are preparing to die, as Beckett symbolically presents in this mise-en-scene: sinking into a sand trap until you’re completey buried.

But I must admire Doris Chiclcott who, despite her golden years, maintains that energy and charism of her stage presence. Can you imagine two hours of talking and holding the audience’s attention? People were listening to her absurdist tirade into her haircomb, hats, umbrellas, plastic guns, mirrors and pink toothbrush. Amazing! Hats off to you, Doris!

All in all, I must say I wanted to review this show for nostalgia’s sake, and for all those baby boomers out there who did go through that phase 30 or so years ago, this is a show worth watching

Copyright 1998 Ed Farolan