Samuel Beckett’s 1961 play is about Winnie’s personal apocalypse. She awakens with the alarm clock to inventory once again the wreckage of her destiny, furnished with her personal belongings, what’s left of her husband Willy and the remains of her diminishing body.
She looks on the bright side intelligently, getting through the day by embedding her particular circumstance in little jokes to herself. Winnie is the every-day hero who cannot be regarded as a hero, as that would elevate her above something else. In Beckett’s literary universe, nothing and no one can be elevated higher than anything else. We all exist as unremarkable bumps on a nearly featureless plane. All of our interest is concentrated on small distinctions expressed wittily.
Courtney Walsh plays Winnie without suffering her situation and without heroic posing. Winnie has the means to end it all but chooses to get through each day, finding the tiniest differences from yesterday, amused to be conscious of the pointlessness, fruitlessness, and the creeping mortality that attacks first the feet and inevitably consumes the entire body. It’s a pleasure to hear Walsh deliver the 90-minute monologue, to see her explore the isolation that makes Winnie’s character universally familiar.
Don DeMico plays Willy, the nearly invisible and nearly silent husband who is more mobile than his wife but less chatty. His lines are concentrated, ironic comments on the fate of the old man in a young world.
Directed by Rush Rehm, artistic director of the Stanford Summer Theater.
Beckett’s are explorations of the intellectual space of this complex writer who reduced human existence to its simplest basis. Don’t miss this opportunity to add to your great theater experiences.
Happy Days plays until August 25, 2013 at the Nitery Theater on the Stanford campus.