Waiting for Beckett profiles the life and work of Nobel prize-winning author and playwright Samuel Beckett, a writer who shunned publicity throughout his life, and yet became a worldwide cultural influence. His plays and novels have been studied and performed on every continent and translated into more than 20 languages. In the United States alone, his most famous play Waiting for Godot has sold over one and a half million copies, and his body of work continues to captivate some of the best minds of our time.
Director John L. Reilly worked with the guidance of Samuel Beckett and his American publisher Barney Rosset. The program took over five years to make and features the only known footage of Beckett at work. Also included are outstanding performances of his work, rare archival footage, interviews with friends and leading Beckett scholars, and excerpts from Beckett’s letters which provide an astonishing and often humorous insight into his personal opinions of his life and art.
Peephole Art – Beckett For Television contains three full-length performances of Samuel Beckett’s work written or adapted especially for the screen. He himself called the medium peephole art because, he said, It allows the viewer to see what was never meant to be seen. Not I is a powerful, experimental piece in which the image of a mouth fills the screen, spewing forth a haunting monologue, which tells the tale of a woman who has been speechless for most of her life. Quad I & II was described by author and Professor Raymond Federman as, poetry, dance, mathematics, geometry – it is the purest piece of work that Beckett has ever done. Beckett himself called it, a ballet for four people, and designed it so that the camera views the dancers from above. What Where, written by Beckett in 1983, was to be his last published play. Originally conceived for the theatre, Beckett spent four years revising it for television with director John Reilly.
These productions were produced by Global Village, and are introduced by the late Irish actor Chris O’Neill, renowned for his performance of Samuel Beckett’s work.
WAITING FOR BECKETT (1994, 86 min) and PEEPHOLE ART (1994, 36 min) have been produced and directed by John Reilly and Melissa Shaw-Smith for Global Village, a non-profit media arts center in New York city, established in 1969. Reilly is its co-founder and has produced and directed over 15 documentaries, including five award-winning PBS specials.
Major funding was provided by The National Endowment for the Humanities, and The National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding provided by the New York Council for the Humanities, The Maryland Humanities Council, The California Council for the Humanities, and the Annenberg Foundation.
“Waiting for Beckett is an entertaining and astute examination of a creative genius which, I am confident, will enjoy the same degree of critical and audience success as our AMERICAN MASTERS programs.”
“As a teacher of drama, film and literature for many years, I applaud your work as a significant contribution to the store of knowledge on Beckett… The film has much potential as an educational tool in the classroom and as a vehicle for public television.”
WAITING FOR BECKETT and PEEPHOLE ART are available on DVD at a cost of $49.95, plus $4.99 shipping within the US. Shipping on overseas orders is $14. If you are purchasing through an institution you may email us a purchase order and we will send an invoice when the order is shipped. For all other customers DVDs are shipped upon receipt of payment.
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