Happy Days

Definition

Theater

  • A tragicomedy by Samuel Beckett, first performed in1961 in New York. In the first act the main character, Winnie, isburied up to her waist in the sand of a desert but carries on an animatedand happy monologue addressed to Willie, her taciturn husband. Thesecond act is much the same, with the difference that Winnie is nowburied up to her chin.

    Peter Hall directed Peggy Ashcroft in the role ofWinnie in 1975 and again in 1976, in the opening production for theNational Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre. While Hall was rehearsing theplay, Beckett himself suddenly appeared on stage, concerned abouta parasol that was supposed to burst into flames during the performancebut which usually malfunctioned. Under pressure from the fire authoritiesand theater managers, the playwright decided that the parasol shouldmerely melt.

    Other actresses to play the part of Winnie include Billie Whitelaw(1979) and Rosaleen Linehan (1996, 2001).

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